Background: Anti-influenza vaccination has proven cost-effective for society. In Israel, however, vaccination rates remain relatively low in comparison to other countries.
Objectives: To analyze the socioeconomic and health status factors affecting the decision to be vaccinated against flu and to compare these factors to results from other countries in order to determine which segments of the adult population should be targeted for increased coverage in influenza vaccination programs.
Methods: Our source was the 1999/2000 Health Survey of the Central Bureau of Statistics for the group aged 25 and above, comprising 16,033 individuals. We used statistical methods such as the Probit regression model to estimate the effects of socioeconomic and health status variables on the decision to get a flu shot. The variables included gender, age, marital status, education, ethnic origin, religious affiliation and housing density, as well as chronic illnesses, smoking, hospitalizations, membership in health management organizations and kibbutz membership.
Results: Our findings indicate that being a post-1990 immigrant from the former Soviet Union, living in a densely populated house, being unmarried and smoking heavily are important factors in predicting the decision not to be vaccinated. In contrast, chronic illness, previous hospitalizations, older age, and kibbutz membership have a positive effect on the decision to take the vaccine.
Conclusions: It is necessary to identify the socioeconomic and health variables marking population sectors that are less likely to be vaccinated in order to design a suitable policy to encourage vaccination.