Many Hispanic Americans Want to Get COVID-19 Vaccine, but Have Not

Some of the lowest U.S. COVID-19 vaccination rates are among Hispanics, but not because they do not want the vaccine, according to a new survey. Rather, the low vaccination rates are the result of misinformation about cost and access, worries about employment, and immigration issues, the latest edition of the Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor finds.

Earlier polls suggested that Hispanics were wary about the vaccine, but the latest survey found that hesitation is declining. In fact, 33 percent of unvaccinated Hispanics said they wanted the vaccine as soon as possible, compared with 16 percent of the unvaccinated Whites and 17 percent of the unvaccinated Blacks. Among Hispanics, 47 percent had gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, compared with 60 percent of Whites and 51 percent of Blacks.

Although COVID-19 vaccines are free, 50 percent of unvaccinated Hispanics thought they would have to pay for the shot and 75 percent feared they would have to miss work because of side effects. About a third feared that getting the shot would jeopardize their immigration status or that of a family member.

The report also noted the impact the pandemic had on Hispanic families, which may explain why they want to be vaccinated. About 38 percent of Hispanic adults said a relative or close friend had died from COVID-19, compared with 18 percent of Whites. Also, 75 percent of Hispanics feared that either they or a relative might get sick and nearly 50 percent said they had been affected economically by the pandemic, compared with about one-third of Whites..

Although about a third of Hispanics wanted to get a shot as soon as possible, 35 percent were more reluctant. More than 50 percent said they would get the shots if their employers gave them paid time off to recover from side effects, and 38 percent of this group said they would get vaccinated if their employer arranged for the shots to be distributed at work. Also, nearly four in 10 said they would be more likely to get the shot if their employer gave them a $200 incentive to do so. Survey responders also said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if the vaccine were available at the clinics where they go for their usual health care.

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