Vaccination Rates Among Patients Age 65 Years and Older Who Require Interpreter Services in the State of Minnesota

Maria Mendoza De la Garza, Stephanie M. Quigg, Silvana B. De Lorenzo, Darrell R. Schroeder, Paul Y. Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the United States, the growing population of older adults with limited English language proficiency (LEP) faces profound health care disparities. Previous research on vaccination of older adults has been based on self-reported data, without clinical verification. We compared pneumococcal vaccination rates between a patient group with LEP and a group of English speakers in an older community-dwelling population. A population-nested matched cohort of participants age 65 years and older was identified in Minnesota. Patients with LEP were identified through an electronic alert within the electronic health record, designed to determine the need for an interpreter. Patients were matched 1 to 1 for age, sex, and Charlson comorbidity index. We used conditional logistic regression for the final analysis. In total, 24,052 patients were identified as older patients (mean [SD] age, 74 [7] years). Of them, 617 patients (2.6%) had LEP. The most common primary languages were Somali (24%), Vietnamese (15%), and Spanish (13%). We found lower rates of vaccination with 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in the LEP group compared with English speakers [62% vs 77%; odds ratio (OR) (95% CI) 2.07 (1.61–2.66); P < 0.001]. Results were similar for 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) [60% vs 75%; OR (95% CI) 1.97 91.54–2.51); P < 0.001]. These data are suggestive that older adults who required a language interpreter during health care encounters were less likely to be vaccinated with PCV13 and PPSV23 than older adults who did not require an interpreter. Effectiveness studies are needed to determine which interventions can help improve vaccination rates in the LEP population of elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-710
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Elderly persons
  • Immunizations
  • Interpreter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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