Fight The Flu

[Image Description: A green background with "Fight The Flu" in large white font and below that reads "Free Flu Vaccines". Then in a dark green textbox reads "Don't take the risk this season" and "No Proof of insurance - No residency require". The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center logo is on the bottom center. On both sides of the graphic in the background is a heart with the Red Cross symbol, a first aid kit, and a clipboard with a medical form.]

Fight The Flu

Easily access the vaccine this season

Fight The Flu is Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center's campaign to increase access to the Influenza (flu) vaccine this season.

Through this project, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center serves as a trusted messenger, partnering with public libraries and local vaccine providers to address misinformation and mistrust and to increase flu vaccination rates among LGBTQ residents of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Flu vaccines are vaccines that protect against the four influenza viruses that research indicates most common during the upcoming season. Most flu vaccines are “flu shots” given with a needle, usually in the arm, but there also is also a nasal spray flu vaccine [1].

CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine during the 2021-2022 flu season [1]. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an flu vaccine every season with rare exception.

Upcoming Flu Vaccine Clinics:

  • Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center - October 7th and November 4th, 2021 from 4:00-6:00pm
    • 522 West Maple Street, Allentown
  • Kutztown Community Library- October 26th, 2021 from 10:00am-12:00pm
    • 70 Bieber Alley, Kutztown
  • Bethlehem Public Library- October 29th, 2021 from 4:00-6:00pm
    • 11 W Church St, Bethlehem
  • Easton Public Library- November 11th, 2021 from 10:00am-12:00pm
    • 515 Church St, Easton
  • Brandywine Community Library- November 13th, 2021 from 10:00am-12:00pm
    • 60 Tower Dr, Topton
  • Emmaus Public Library- November 15th, 2021 from 5:00-7:00pm
    • 11 E Main St, Emmaus
  • Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity- November 18th, 2021 from 4:00-6:00pm
    • 295 E Center St, Nazareth
  • Parkland Public Library- November 20th, 2021 from 4:00pm-6:00pm
    • 4422 Walbert Ave, Allentown

BACKGROUND

While existing health disparities make it critical for LGBTQ people to engage in preventive care such as flu vaccinations, barriers to care including past or anticipated discrimination reduce the rate at which many LGBTQ people consume healthcare. The 2020 Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment demonstrated that less than half of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians receive an annual flu vaccine [2]. Though LGBTQ people were at increased risk with regards to COVID-19, other indicators including the Pennsylvania LGBTQ COVID-19 Vaccine Survey showed that LGBTQ Pennsylvanians were often less likely to know where to go to seek vaccinations and that those who identified as people of color were more likely to be hesitant due to medical mistrust.

 

THE NEED

According to the 2020 Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment, 45.5% of LGBTQ people in Eastern Pennsylvania (excluding Philadelphia) had not received a flu shot in the past year [2]. This is in part because many LGBTQ Pennsylvanians do not have someone they consider to be their personal doctor or healthcare provider due to factors such as past or potential discrimination and medical mistrust. Of LGBTQ community members in Eastern Pennsylvania overall, 16.8% report not having a personal healthcare provider. More than 1 in 5 transgender, nonbinary, or genderqueer community members do not have a personal healthcare provider, and 1 in 4 LGBTQ people of color do not. In Eastern Pennsylvania, 19.9% of LGBTQ community members overall, 21.6% of LGBTQ people of color, and 29.8% of transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer community members have experienced a negative reaction from a healthcare provider who had learned their LGBTQ status. Nearly a third (32.1%) of LGBTQ community members overall, 36.6% of LGBTQ people of color, and 52.3% of transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer community members sometimes, often, or always fear seeking healthcare services because of past or potential negative reactions from healthcare providers. Additionally, more than 15% of LGBTQ people of color in the region have had a negative experience with a healthcare provider due to their race. Additionally, the need for flu vaccines is all the greater as the COVID-19 virus and its variants continue to spread. 

 

FLU VACCINE DURING COVID-19

LGBTQ people have been identified as being at greater risk for COVID-19 and its more severe symptoms due to other health disparities including increased rates of immunosuppression due to HIV and cancer, increased rates of tobacco use, and greater barriers to care. Though the Pennsylvania LGBTQ COVID-19 Vaccine Survey administered by Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and Bryn Mawr College found that LGBTQ Pennsylvanians were motivated to get COVID vaccines--most notably out of a concern for community health--several concerns were identified [3]. First, of those community members who had yet to be vaccinated, 40.8% did not know where to go to receive a vaccine, and 46.0% had not contacted anyone about making a vaccine appointment. Second, there were clear intracommunity disparities, with Black LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians accessing COVID-19 vaccinations at a lower rate than the larger LGBTQ+ community and displaying more hesitancy than other LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians and transgender and non-binary Pennsylvanians reporting less certainty about where to get a COVID-19 vaccine. It is of the utmost importance that LGBTQ community members are provided with trustworthy information about vaccines, proactively engaged in health promotion campaigns around vaccinations, and linked to identified LGBTQ-affirming vaccine providers in order to increase rates of vaccination against influenza and COVID-19.

 

THE CAMPAIGN

Fight The Flu is a campaign are to increase health literacy regarding flu vaccines among LGBTQ community members, increase access to vaccinations in safe and affirming community-based settings, and increase knowledge of trusted resources including Medline Plus and local LGBTQ-affirming vaccine providers.

Our objective is to coordinate 1 in-person flu vaccine clinic at each of the 8 libraries in Eastern Pennsylvania, in order to increase access to flu vaccines for LGBTQ community members

 

Developed resources reported in this internet site are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM013724. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

MedlinePlus is an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends. It is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest medical library, and a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It offers information on health topics, human genetics, medical tests, medications, and health recipes. 

 

SOURCES

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, August 26). Seasonal flu vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/flushot.htm.
  2. Research & Evaluation Group at Public Health Management Corporation and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. (2020). 2020 Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment.
  3. Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research (GSSWSR) and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. (2021). Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ COVID-19 Vaccine Survey [Unpublished raw data].

 

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