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  • Viviane Nguyen

How Does Politics Affect the Number of Vietnamese-Americans Getting Flu Shots?

According to a UCLA study, Vietnamese-Americans are reported to have one of the highest flu shot rates at 47 percent; while Whites, Chinese, Latinos are at 40 percent, and Blacks are at 29 percent.

Ask anyone who has ever been to a clinic independently run by Vietnamese doctors and they will tell you the lines are long and wait times can be up to an hour even with appointments. During the flu season, such clinics can be filled to capacity or even run out of flu vaccines, with many young and elderly Vietnamese-Americans who are eager to get their flu shot.

In the U.S., Vietnamese-Americans are the fourth largest Asian-American group. As the number of representation of Vietnamese elected officials grows, and Asian-American officials at large, the opportunities to promote wellness and community health fairs targeting such communities will also increase. These outreach efforts make a difference in the community.

The annual influenza vaccine is widely accessible and Vietnamese-Americans have been traditionally receptive to injections because it's been favorably marketed. In a study specific to Santa Clara County in California, excellent health services can be attributed to an increase in vaccination rates for Vietnamese-Americans. As we learn more about the health benefits of these shots, we are more likely to ask our doctors about them and are more willing to receive the flu shots when offered.

Community health fairs, such as the Community Health Fair World Hepatitis Day in Santa Clara County last month, co-hosted by Congressman Mike Honda and the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, play a vital part in community outreach. They promote the importance of vaccinations and provided resources on flu immunization for the Vietnamese-American community.

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Viviane Nguyen She is a lover of politics. She has researched and worked in different levels of government in San Jose, Sacramento, Washington D.C., and Thailand. She is motivated to highlight issues impacting the Vietnamese-American community and Asian American communities at large. She was formerly a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow at UC Berkeley and notably a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy. She wants to write to show why politics, especially in 2016, is important.

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