LGBTQ Community Study on COVID-19 Vaccine Fears

Doctor holding a big syringe intended for Earth
Image of the global COVID-19 vaccine by Alexandra Koch

New study shows what may be the first nationwide survey of COVID-19 vaccine reluctance among LGBTQ people. The survey offers insight into the attitudes of a community that has often gone unnoticed in public health efforts, as information on sexual orientation and gender identity is rarely collected in federal, state, or health data. local.

The study notes that the Department of Health and Human Services rarely collects this information in its public health surveys or other data collections.

Reluctance to COVID-19 vaccine is real

“If LGBTQ people are not identified in the data collection, we cannot be seen by public health agencies, hospital systems and other health care organizations,” said Mardi Moore, executive director of In Boulder County, which provides advocacy, services, programs and support to the LGBTQ community in Boulder County, Colorado. “If they don’t see us, we don’t exist and it is almost impossible to get the resources allocated to us. Sexual orientation and gender identity must be part of the data that health organizations collect, ”she added.

When it comes to COVID-19 vaccine reluctance, LGBTQ information is crucial for an effective community immunization program. The success of a vaccine requires the participation of people from all demographic groups. Like members of many marginalized groups, LGBTQ people may have a greater distrust of health systems or government, both of which can contribute to reluctance to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Studies in the United States have examined this reluctance among blacks, Hispanics, and other people of color, as well as by political affiliation. The new survey of In Boulder County is the first to examine the attitudes of LGBTQ people. It’s a reminder that LGBTQ identity has the potential to be almost as important as race / ethnicity or political affiliation in determining whether a person is ready to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Health care providers need to better understand LGBTQ people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes on its website that without information about sexual orientation and gender identity, “patients and their specific health care needs cannot be identified, the health disparities they experience cannot be corrected, and important health services may not be provided. Efforts like the Out Boulder County COVID-19 vaccine reluctance investigation can help public health experts and healthcare providers better understand LGBTQ people.

“I am proud that although we are a small organization, Out Boulder County is one of the first in the country to spend money and resources on doing this research,” said Moore. “We are proud to help quantify the problem of COVID-19 vaccine reluctance among LGBTQ people, and to draw attention to the broader problem of the lack of related data in public health. “

Survey results

The Out Boulder County COVID-19 vaccine reluctance survey found that if a vaccine was available today, 17% of respondents who identified as LGBTQ were hesitant or reluctant to take it, compared with just 9% of non-LGBTQ respondents. The respondents most reluctant to receive a vaccine were cisgender LGBTQ people assigned to a female gender at birth: 26% responded “no” or “not sure” when asked if they would take the vaccine. 18% of transgender respondents assigned to a female gender at birth gave these responses. And, only 6% of non-LGBTQ people assigned to a female gender at birth gave these responses.

Overall, 18% of those assigned to a female gender at birth expressed reluctance to the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 9% of those assigned to a male at birth. Wider surveys have consistently shown that women are more reluctant than men to be vaccinated against COVID-19. There was little difference in reluctance between cisgender and transgender people assigned to a male at birth.

Other findings included a correlation between people who get a flu shot regularly and those who are likely to get the COVID-19 shot: 91% of those who get the flu shot each year are likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In contrast, only 34% of those who never get a flu shot are likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Overall, however, respondents seem more open to a COVID-19 vaccine than an annual flu shot. While only 76% of those surveyed get the flu shot every year or most years, 84% said they plan to get the COVID-19 shot.

Among the barriers most often cited by respondents were security concerns, the need for more information, concerns about efficiency and mistrust of government.

The survey was conducted for Out Boulder County by research psychologist Kaylin Gray, Ph.D. between Dec. 17 and Jan. 7. Full survey results are available here:

People with HIV have unique concerns

The Out Boulder County COVID-19 vaccine reluctance investigation has also drawn attention to the unique challenges and concerns of the approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States. They pointed to the lack of disclosure from vaccine makers about whether their trials included people with HIV, let alone how those people might have responded to the vaccine. They also noted the fear of an interaction between the vaccine and anti-HIV drugs.

LGBTQ people could be hit hardest by COVID-19

LGBTQ people may derive disproportionate benefit from immunization, as existing data shows they are more likely to have pre-existing conditions that can lead to serious illness when they contract COVID-19. An estimated 65% of LGBTQ adults have pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, HIV, or diabetes, which makes them more vulnerable to serious illness. Additionally, 49% of LGBTQ adults smoke, compared to 39% of non-LGBTQ adults, and 20% of LGBTQ adults have been diagnosed with asthma, compared to 14% of non-LGBTQ adults.

Additionally, LGBTQ people may be less likely to receive medical care, either because of fear of discrimination, past bad experiences, cost, or lack of access. For example, 38% of LGBTQ households could not obtain necessary medical care, or delayed obtaining care, during the pandemic; 19% of non-LGBTQ households report the same problem, according to a survey conducted this summer by the Movement Advancement Project.

“In our survey, LGBTQ people were more reluctant than others to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “

“In our survey, LGBTQ people were more reluctant than others to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” Moore said. “We don’t know what a larger Boulder County population survey would show, or what state or national data would show, because sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in these surveys.”

While it is not clear whether LGBTQ people are more likely to be reluctant to be vaccinated against COVID-19, it is clear that overall vaccination efforts will benefit from outreach, communication and distribution efforts targeting women and men. members of this community. This includes public health messaging campaigns to LGBTQ people, personal physicians discussing vaccination with their patients, and administering the vaccine in areas with large LGBTQ communities.

Out Boulder County is working on a communications initiative and is currently seeking partners. The organization is also working on setting up a satellite clinic with COVID-19 vaccines.

But, Moore notes, all of this work is data driven. “Right now, because they don’t track sexual orientation or gender identity, public health agencies don’t even know who we are or where we live,” Moore said. “Without this information, it is incredibly difficult to ensure that LGBTQ people are equitably included in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. “

Source link


Leave A Reply