04 Feb Political Affiliation and COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among US Hispanics
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bianca V. Sanchez
Department of Medical Education
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the study?
Response: Hispanic populations have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as evident by their increased rate of infection with the virus, hospitalizations, and mortality. Previous literature has indicated that many of these individuals demonstrate increased rates of vaccine hesitancy, subsequently increasing their risk for infection.
This study aimed to characterize the reasoning behind vaccine hesitancy in Hispanic populations in the hopes of addressing their concerns through targeted educational interventions.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We utilized a survey platform to collect information on participants’ demographics and beliefs regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Our findings from a national sample revealed that Hispanic populations were most concerned about the safety, side effects and lack of efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, Hispanic individuals overwhelmingly agreed with the statement “The developers of the COVID-19 vaccine rushed the development and cut corners.”
Republicans had significantly higher scores, that is, stronger agreement, than Democrats on six of ten controversial COVID-19 statements (e.g., “The COVID-19 vaccine will change parts of my DNA” or “The vaccine isn’t necessary because COVID-19 has a low mortality rate”). Republicans also were more likely to agree than political independents to three statements (e.g., “The COVID-19 vaccine is just the virus and will infect you with the disease”).
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: In general, there was no single reason to explain the increased rates of vaccine hesitancy amongst Hispanic populations. Individual decisions were impacted by gender, education level, source of news (e.g., Fox vs CNN) and, most importantly, political party affiliation.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: This study was only distributed to English-speaking Hispanic individuals, which excludes an important portion of the Hispanic population. Therefore, distributing this survey in Spanish may provide a more complete explanation regarding vaccine hesitancy amongst Hispanic populations. Future research should also examine the COVID-19 vaccination decision process of unvaccinated Hispanic parents regarding their children’s vaccination status.
Tailored strategies should be empirically tested and implemented to further educate unvaccinated individuals to attenuate their hesitancy. Those facing logistical barriers like inability to get time-off work, lack of transportation, unawareness of how to sign-up for vaccinations, or an inaccurate belief about the cost of vaccination, may be less intransient than those who view vaccination decisions through a partisan lens.
Piper BJ, Sanchez BV, Madera JD, Sulzinski MA. Profiles of US Hispanics unvaccinated for COVID‑19. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 2022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35107819/
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