COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A new U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report shows Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are more likely to be hospitalized with the flu and less likely to be vaccinated against the virus.

Those trends are reflected in Ohio as well.

As a state last year, Ohio ranked 37th for flu vaccination rates with 46.2% of Ohioans rolling up their sleeves. Data from 2021 shows that 46.1% of white Ohioans received a flu vaccine, compared to 36.6% of Black Ohioans and 29% of Hispanic Ohioans.

One doctor said there has historically been distrust between people of color and healthcare providers, but they’re working to change that.

“The number one thing I would urge anyone to do, including people of minorities, is to make sure they find a doctor they feel they can trust, that they can really feel has their best interest at heart,” says Dr. Shane Jeffers, a family medicine doctor from Mount Carmel.

Officials are working to close that gap while at the same time urging everyone to roll up their sleeves this year as flu cases are expected to rise due to fewer people wearing masks.

Last year, 46.2% of Ohioans got a flu vaccine and that number has slowly increased year over year.

Doctors want everyone to get a flu shot and ask questions because there are options.

“I think if you already know you want the vaccine, the pharmacy is the way to go,” Jeffers said. “I think that if you have concerns, definitely make an appointment with your primary care doctor. Any of us are happy to talk to you about the flu vaccine. We are happy to go through the risks versus benefits. It may not be appropriate for everyone, although the vast majority of us should be getting it.”

For more information on the flu vaccine, patients are urged to contact their local pharmacy or their primary care doctor.