We know that Hispanic/Latino and Black communities continue to have double the rate of death due to COVID-19 compared with White communities. Therefore, getting more people vaccinated may reduce serious illness from COVID-19 for these same groups. This is very important as more than 99% of deaths from COVID-19 are now among unvaccinated people. As of July 2021, among people who have received one dose of the vaccine, 59% were White, 16% Hispanic/Latino, and 9% Black. Researchers interviewed Hispanic/Latino and Black people to better understand why they decided (or not) to get vaccinated.
Trust in the vaccine and system is key
Many factors impact each person’s decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine or not. Perceived mistreatment and distrust were common reasons not to get it. For example, reports of more pregnant Black and Latino women dying from COVID-19 have led to distrust in the vaccine. Solutions include using trusted messengers and messages; providing choice, social support, and diversity; and increasing access to vaccination. To address distrust, we can use trusted messengers (people who are considered credible by their community) to provide important vaccination information. These people may include health care workers, faith leaders, and community members. In addition, offering choice in the vaccine process can help people to develop a sense of control. Choice includes choice in vaccine maker, a mix of community and clinic vaccination sites, and letting people choose their lane and chair at the vaccination site.
Vaccine sites and the vaccination process
Vaccination sites should reflect the diversity of the population. This includes diversity in race, ethnicity, and profession, all of which are important in building trust. As important is ensuring equitable and inclusive care for all. To remove barriers, mobile clinics, same-day clinics, and walk-in sites in easily accessible and trusted places can be used. If sign-up systems must be used, ensure easy access, and not only online options. Telling people that the vaccine is free to them and not requiring documentation are also essential.
This research shows that insights from the community inform strategies to increase vaccine access and acceptance in communities hit the hardest by COVID-19.
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