COVID-19 Vaccine Disparities Among Latinos
Principal Investigator: Trey Andrews
Pulling together resources from multiple sources, Co-Director Trey Andrews was able to secure a state contract to greatly expand research regarding COVID-19 vaccine uptake and partner with El Centro de las Américas to address these disparities. The project consists of two phases of interviews with Lincoln-area Latinx residents. These interviews focus on vaccine uptake, vaccine hesitation, trusted sources of information, and trusted sources of healthcare. During the first phase, El Centro conducted traditional educational outreach. Since collection of the first wave of data, Andrews has collaborated with El Centro to re-prioritize vaccine outreach strategies based on data indicating that the largest barriers to vaccine uptake was not hesitancy but structural barriers, like travel and worries about cost. The collaborative team have new secured agreements with community providers to conduct “walk up” COVID-19 vaccine clinics targeting areas where Latinx residents often frequent. The second phase of interviews will help assess the efficacy of this approach, but primarily identify continued areas of need related to COVID-19 disparities, including potential lingering mental health concerns.
This project was able to be executed because of prior ORED funding for Andrews that allowed him to establish and refine similar interview procedures in meatpacking areas. Already, approximately 600 Latinx residents of Lincoln who otherwise would not have received vaccines, have now received them. This contract played a significant role in funding the outreach and planning that took place for these special vaccine clinics directed toward areas with high Latinx populations (e.g., Cristo Rey). These numbers also comprise approximately 10% of the COVID-19 vaccinations among all Latinx residents and have measurably reduced the racial/ethnic gap in COVID-19 vaccinations. These efforts will continue until the contract expires later this year when additional contracts will be sought, and data will be leveraged to pursue federal funding. These efforts also offer sustainable strategies for other community partners who have assisted with the vaccine clinics in that they now have effective strategies for improving vaccine equity in our community. Currently, this project is being expanded beyond Lincoln to recruit participants in Grand Island with the help of UNL Extension. This project will recruit 100 participants to assess vaccine hesitancy among Central Nebraskans.
Questions? Contact Sara Reyes.