COVID-19 and historic influenza vaccinations in the United States: A comparative analysis


Aurora Neuroscience and Innovation Institute


The COVID-19 vaccination effort is a monumental global challenge. Recognizing and addressing the causes of vaccine hesitancy will improve vaccine uptake. The primary objective of this study was to compare the COVID-19 vaccination rates in US counties to historical vaccination rates for influenza in persons aged 65 and older. The secondary objective was to identify county-level demographic, socioeconomic, and political factors that influence vaccination rates. County level data were obtained from publicly available databases for comparison and to create predictive models. Overall, in US counties the COVID-19 vaccination rate exceeded influenza vaccination rates amongst those aged 65 or older (69.4.0% vs. 44%, < 0.0001). 2690 (83.4%) of 3224 counties had vaccinated 50% or more of their 65 and older residents in the first seven months of the COVID-19 vaccination roll out. There were 467 (14.5%) of 3223 counties in which the influenza vaccination rate exceeded the COVID-19 vaccination rate. Most of these counties were in the Southern region, were considered politically "red" and had a significantly higher non-Hispanic Black resident population (14.4% vs. 8.2%, < 0.0001). Interventions intended to improve uptake should account for nuances in vaccine access, confidence, and consider factual social media messaging, especially in vulnerable counties.

Document Type


PubMed ID


Link to Full Text