Statement of Purpose Underrepresented minorities experienced disproportionate rates of COVID-19 disease severity and mortality. The Hispanic population is three times as likely to get COVID-19 infection as their white counterparts because of disproportionate occupations with increased viral exposure such as frontline, essential, and critical infrastructure workers; they live in multigenerational households and have lower levels of access to healthcare. Given the significant vulnerability, this study seeks to understand the perspectives of Hispanic caregivers with children towards a COVID-19 vaccine. The high COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness rates providing the ultimate pandemic solution. Healthy individuals have lower injury risks and more likely to return to full health when injured. Current vaccine-hesitant groups are different from traditional antivaccers. We set out to explore Hispanic caregivers’ perceptions of COVID-19 vaccine safety.
Methods/Approach Caregivers who sought pediatric care from the local urban Community Clinic responded to a telephone survey. Participants verbally consented to a baseline and 6 month follow up survey to determine public education campaigns’ impact. Inclusion criteria were caregivers who: a) were >= 18 years, b) sought pediatric care for their children aged 0–17 years at well visits, nurse-only flu shot visits and specialty care for ENT and allergy visits from November 1, 2020 through February 28, 2021 and, c) were child’s primary caregiver. We analyzed survey frequencies.
Results Sixty maternal caregivers enrolled: 6.7% African American (AA) and 93.3% Spanish-speaking (Hispanic). This data analysis excluded AA participants, N=56. 70% of the households had >=occupants, 14% had some college or higher level of education. 40.7% of their children were doing virtual school, 37% in person and 22.2% hybrid. 90.6% of families used Medicaid and 43.4% WIC services. While majority of mothers agreed that vaccines in general were safe (60%), and useful in preventing serious disease (91%), only 49.1% and 45.6% agreed that COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective respectively. 61.4% agreed that government should not force people to get vaccinated or require vaccination for children to attend childcare/school (42.8%). While 68.4% believed that COVID-19 vaccine side effects were minimal, 40.3% believed they were significant. 85.9% agreed that children got a correct number of vaccines while 23.2% felt they got too many. Fewer mothers agreed that vaccines conflicted with their beliefs that children should only get exposed to natural products, 69.5% disagreed. Over 90% trusted vaccine information and could openly discuss vaccine concerns with their pediatricians. While 34% disagreed that COVID-19 will cause sterilization, 53.6% did not feel they could evaluate this statement. 59% would not participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial, only 18.5% would.
Conclusion Hispanic parents trust their pediatricians, believe vaccines provide significant disease protection and are safe. Compared to other vaccines, there was hesitancy noted with the COVID-19 vaccine, although indicated some willingness to vaccinate children against COVID-19 when available. Future exploration of parental autonomy in decision-making of vaccine acceptance or rejection.
Significance Hispanic parents will adhere to injury prevention guidelines and their pediatricians’ recommendations, especially if they get education and have their concerns addressed.
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