Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently conducted a study which found that many adults in Arkansas receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are doing so despite experiencing some doubts about the shot.
A survey of 1,475 people at drive-thru clinics and community vaccination events between April 22 and July 6, 2021 found that over half- 60 percent- of adults who received the vaccine reported experiencing some level of hesitancy. However, researchers found that influence from family members and a desire to protect themselves against the virus led to them getting the vaccine anyway. Those who were hesitant adopters of the vaccine also reported they were most likely to turn to family and friends, a health care provider, and/or the CDC for trusted information about the vaccine.
“Personal testimonies from people who received the vaccine can be incredibly powerful,” said Rachel Purvis, Ph.D., an assistant professor and researcher in the Office of Community Health and Research at UAMS. “Although some hesitant adopters said they didn’t trust any sources of information about the vaccine, we found that most do trust their doctor and their family.”
Vaccine hesitancy was designated by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019, prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As of Feb. 21, 2022, more than 900,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19. Nationwide, nearly 80 percent of people five years of age and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.
“It’s important to understand that many people may be hesitant and still choose to get vaccinated,” said Don Willis, Ph.D., another researcher and assistant professor in the Office of Community Health and Research. “This should be encouraging for health care providers. The fact that hesitancy is common among the vaccinated is also an important reminder that having questions and concerns is normal, and we hope knowing this will encourage those who are hesitant to ask any questions they may have.”
As of Feb. 21, the Arkansas Department of Health has reported more than 10,000 deaths from COVID-19. Less than 55 percent of the state’s eligible population is fully immunized. According to the ADH, more than 80 percent of the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations since last February are among unvaccinated patients.
Other Key Study Findings:
- 31 percent of respondents reported they were a little hesitant about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine; 19 percent said they were somewhat hesitant; and 10 percent said they were very hesitant.
- Black/African American respondents were more likely to report higher levels of vaccine hesitancy, with 76 percent of those surveyed reporting some level of hesitancy. 28 percent said they were very hesitant.
- Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander respondents were less likely to report higher levels of vaccine hesitancy than white respondents, possibly due to significant outreach and education efforts implemented in Arkansas.
Researchers also found a connection between vaccine hesitancy and health literacy, which the CDC defines as “the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.” According to the study, as respondents’ health literacy increased, their hesitancy toward vaccines decrease.
The four research articles related to this study can be read in their entirety by clicking the links below: