Survey finds key groups less accepting of COVID-19 vaccine
Black and Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries were less likely to say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine than white recipients despite being more likely to recognize COVID-19’s increased severity compared with influenza, a survey showed.
“These are not knowledge differences — this is not a lack of awareness. It is clear that minority communities are very aware of the nature of and the impact of the virus on their communities and themselves. This is less about knowledge and more about trust,” Felicia B. LeClere, PhD, a senior fellow in the health care department at NORC at the University of Chicago, told Healio, adding that messaging to mitigate this difference is “best done by health care workers who are on the front lines.”
The data are from a Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) of 9,686 beneficiaries that was conducted via telephone between Oct. 5 and Nov. 15, before COVID-19 vaccines were authorized in the United States.
Overall, 58% of beneficiaries said they would “definitely” or “probably” get a COVID-19 vaccine, including 66% of male beneficiaries and 53% of female beneficiaries, according to survey results. Responses showed that 36% of white beneficiaries said they would “definitely” get a COVID-19 vaccine compared with 20% of Black and 26% of Hispanic beneficiaries.
Additionally, more beneficiaries (38%) who had an income of $25,000 or more annually said they would get a vaccine compared with those who made less than $25,000 annually (26%).
A total of 35% of participants who spoke English at home said they would definitely get a vaccine, whereas 29% of individuals who spoke a language other than English at home said they would be willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Approximately 37% of nonsmokers said they would be willing to get the vaccine, compared with 31% of smokers.
Most — 80% — of respondents agreed that COVID-19 is more deadly and contagious than influenza, although these beliefs were less common among white respondents (77% and 78%, respectively) than Black (90% and 88%) or Hispanic (88% and 86%) respondents.
LeClere said a new survey is planned for early March to assess vaccine uptake attitudes now that vaccine distribution has begun. She said the benefit of surveys is their ability to ground vaccine uptake attitudes and characteristics of the respondents.
“If you look at a recent MMWR from the CDC, they mention the reporting of race and ethnicity on the vaccine data is relatively low,” LeClere said. “If you just look at the incidence of vaccine uptake, it will be hard to understand the differential. Surveys allow you to do that because people self-report their race and ethnicity. On an ongoing basis, what surveys do is provide the context in which this is happening and the attitudes of the public, and will continue to do that.”