What’s stopping some Hispanics from getting the COVID shot?
By Cara Murez, health day reporter
MONDAY, October 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — While large numbers of Hispanic Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by this point, a new study suggests barriers may still stand in the way of those who might want to take pictures.
The researchers identified four main barriers to vaccination: access to appropriate health services, money, immigration concerns, and misinformation.
“We lack culturally and linguistically relevant outreach vehicles that take into account people who are not only culturally diverse, but who have specific needs and continue to struggle for equity and access,” said the co- study author Adriana Perez, associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“Most are rooted in the inequalities that Latinos face,” he said. “This study sheds light on some of them and how we might better address them.”
Researchers worked with 21 people who were part of another study that focused on factors influencing Latinos’ participation in research.
The new study was conducted early in the pandemic, between April and June 2020, before COVID vaccines became available.
The participants were divided into three discussion groups. They shared how they felt about being tested for COVID and whether they would receive a vaccine if one was developed.
Twelve administrators from organizations primarily serving Latin American communities in urban and rural California also answered questions about barriers they saw to testing and vaccination.
About a year after COVID vaccines hit the market, researchers have been tracking Latino leaders.
Four main themes emerged from these discussions.
The first was the lack of access to quality health services. “Not having a place to go for care was a big concern,” Perez said. “Latinos as a group have one of the highest rates of uninsurance in the country, and many live in rural communities. They told us that they really needed resources, that they were really in demand.
Some also viewed health care providers as government agents. One focus group summed it up this way: “All roads lead to possible deportation.
“It’s about the often secret suffering of rural and urban Latino Hispanic communities,” said Elena Portacolone, associate professor at the Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. “It was particularly prevalent early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when vaccines were not yet on the horizon.”
Study participants also expressed concerns about the cost of the vaccine, transportation to obtain it, and potential loss of time at work, as well as overall financial concerns about the pandemic and possible job or job losses. revenue.
The researchers also pointed to the lack of reliable information about the vaccine and mixed messages from traditional and social media.
“They would get a message on television that doesn’t match what they were hearing on the pitch,” Perez said. “For COVID — and many other public health issues, for that matter — there needs to be clear messaging.”
Ultimately, about 41 million of the country’s 62 million Latino or Hispanic residents received at least one COVID vaccine. Hispanic Americans make up 19% of the US population.
“When it comes to public health and COVID-19, our system doesn’t take into account a person’s culture,” Perez said. “We still miss the mark for Latinos across the country.”
The researchers said overcoming barriers to vaccine uptake among Latinos will require more resources as well as relevant public health policy and better coordination between states and local governments.
“An intentional, long-term commitment from policy makers, civil servants, healthcare providers and private entities to eradicate inequalities” is needed, Portacolone said. Overall, these findings call for a strong commitment to equity.
The study was published on October 12 in the journal PLOS ONE.
SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania, press release, October 12, 2022
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