Hispanic adults are twice as likely as non-Hispanic white adults to say they want a COVID-19 vaccine, but concerns such as not being able to miss work, not knowing where to get the shot and having trouble getting to a site have prevented them from getting inoculated, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
"Hispanic people have suffered higher rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death compared to their White counterparts,” KFF researchers say in the latest issue of the nonpartisan organization's COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor. “Despite being harder hit by the pandemic, Hispanic people have been less likely than White people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine so far.” The study points out that Hispanic adults have faced an increased risk of getting infected because many have essential jobs that cannot be done from home and many live in multigenerational households.
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Some key findings:
- Forty-seven percent of Hispanic adults say they have already gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 51 percent of Black adults and 60 percent of whites.
- Hispanic adults are more enthusiastic about getting vaccinated, with 33 percent of Hispanics who have not been vaccinated saying they want a shot “as soon as possible” compared with 17 percent of Black adults and 16 percent of whites. People who said they definitely will not get vaccinated accounted for 17 percent of Hispanics surveyed, 26 percent of Blacks and 34 percent of whites.
- One barrier that may inhibit Hispanic adults from getting a vaccine is being asked for certain types of documentation, even though the federal government says vaccines are available and free to all individuals regardless of immigration status. Among Hispanics attempting to make an appointment, 42 percent reported being asked for a government ID while 56 percent of those who got at least one dose were asked to provide such an ID.
- When asked what their concerns are about getting a vaccine, 78 percent of unvaccinated Hispanics said they were worried about experiencing serious side effects from the vaccine, 72 percent said they were concerned the vaccines are not as safe as they are said to be, 64 percent were worried that they might need to miss work because they get sick from side effects, and 26 percent said it would be difficult to travel to a vaccination site.
- Asked what would make them more likely to get a COVID vaccine, 47 percent of Hispanics said if airlines required passengers to be vaccinated before they could fly, 46 percent said they would get the shot if they could get it at a place where they usually go for health care, and 41 percent said they would take it if it was required for international travel.
The KFF report was based on interviews April 15-29 with 778 Hispanic adults, including 334 of the interviews conducted in Spanish.
Dena Bunis covers Medicare, health care, health policy and Congress. She also writes the “Medicare Made Easy” column for the AARP Bulletin. An award-winning journalist, Bunis spent decades working for metropolitan daily newspapers, including as Washington bureau chief for the Orange County Register and as a health policy and workplace writer for Newsday.
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