Doctors should make a point of offering a flu vaccine to their patients. A simple reminder could considerably reduce the number of racial and ethnic minorities who currently do not vaccinate themselves against this common contagious respiratory illness. This recommendation is based on research led by J├╝rgen Maurer of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and the RAND Corporation in the US. Their findings are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Researchers wanted to find out what the influence of converting such “missed opportunities” could have on the number of Americans getting vaccinated against the flu.

Maurer’s team found that during the 2009-2010 influenza season 42.6% of white study participants were vaccinated. Only 32.6 percent of black respondents and 30.1% of Hispanic respondents were, even though they visited healthcare professionals at the same rate as non-Hispanic white Americans.