by Lisa Parks
- Minorities in Boston are being hit hard by swine flu. Blacks, one-quarter of the city’s residents, are 37% of the H1N1 cases. Latinos, 14% of the population, are more than one-third of the cases (NPR.org 8.19.09).
- Social circumstances are contributing to the disproportionate effects. Because low-income parents can’t afford to stay home with sick children, they’re less likely to ask for sick leave from work, and are sending their sick kids to school.
- Residents in low-income neighborhoods are being targeted with a campaign to vaccinate against regular seasonal flu and the H1N1 vaccine. A key component: asking employers to give employees time off to get flu shots.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- The social circumstances of many African Americans and Latinos — insufficient access to healthcare facilities, jobs that don’t cover healthcare costs and crowded schools — are the cause of disparity in the spread and treatment of diseases. Efforts to combat specific illnesses require partnerships between health officials, government leaders, businesses and parents.