Food Insecurity and Influenza and Pneumonia Vaccines Uptake Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults in the United States


Influenza and pneumonia vaccines can reduce morbidities and mortality associated with infectious diseases among older adults. Food security, good nutrition, and high-quality diets are critical for the wellbeing of older adults. However, little is known about the relationship between food insecurity and use of preventive health services, such as influenza and pneumonia vaccinations, among older adults. In this study, we analyzed data on 40,555 adults aged ≥ 65 years from the 2014–2018 National Health Interview Survey in the United States. Through multiple hierarchical logistic regression models, we investigated the associations between food insecurity and influenza and pneumonia vaccines uptake in this population. We found that, during 2014–2018, about 12.6 million (5.3%) adults aged ≥ 65 years lived in food-insecure households in the United States. Of those, 60.6% reported getting an influenza vaccine in the past 12 months, and 54.2% reported ever getting a pneumonia vaccine. Compared to food-secure older adults, food-insecure individuals were not significantly different in terms of influenza vaccine uptake. However, they were 25% less likely to have ever gotten a pneumonia vaccine (adjusted odds ratio = 0.75, 95% CI 0.65–0.86, P <.001). Efforts should be made to develop strategies to improve immunization rates among food-insecure older adults. Healthcare providers could routinely assess their vaccination status and screen them for food insecurity. Also, community level screening and intervention programs should target food-insecure older adults, who often face structural disadvantages. Future studies could explore and identify the underlying predictive factors contributing to low pneumonia vaccination rates among food-insecure older adults.

Publication Title

Journal of Community Health