influenza vaccine; influenza health disparities; Black adults; public health critical race praxis; influenza vaccine messaging; health equity


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Influenza Virus Vaccines | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


Influenza (flu) is an infectious, respiratory disease that causes substantial burden and mortality, and Non-Hispanic Black people experience profound disparities in flu disease burden in the United States. One contributor to flu disease disparities is lower flu vaccination rates among Black populations. This qualitative study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic and used the Public Health Critical Race Praxis framework to center and elicit Black adults’ perspectives of desired flu vaccine messaging. This work builds upon efforts to increase access to flu vaccinations and recommendations are provided to aid in tailoring flu vaccine messaging via a health equity lens. Recommendations for flu messaging include: 1) increased transparency in calling out racial disparities in flu disease burden through the use of local statistics, 2) being upfront with provision of flu vaccine information in easy-to-understand language when addressing concerns, and 3) providing desired education around what the vaccine is doing to one’s body, what the ingredients are, potential side effects and normalizing side effects, and the duration of protection elicited by vaccination. Recommendations also highlight the importance of incorporating the family/community/social context in flu vaccination messaging and for targeted messaging to address the most vulnerable while also providing reasons why persons who may consider themselves to not be vulnerable to the flu (i.e., healthy, no risk factors) should be vaccinated (e.g., get vaccinated in order to reduce exposure risk to your grandmother).