To support the acceptance rate of vaccines in communities of color, STOP COVID-19 CA, a coalition of eleven academic institutions and their community partners across California, conducted an exploratory study on vaccine hesitancy in Los Angeles communities to provide insights for public health vaccine policy, messaging and outreach.
Led in part by UCLA CTSI investigators, STOP COVID-19 CA conducted 13 virtual focus groups on vaccine hesitancy and acceptability based on five racial/ethnic categories. These included 70 participants who self-identified as American Indian, African American, Filipino, Latino, or Pacific Islander. Insights and recommendations were collected into a policy brief.
The brief's recommendations include investing in community-based engagement, validation of and listening to concerns leading to hesitancy, access to timely and accessible information from credible sources, increased data transparency for sub-populations, and reducing structural barriers in vaccine access.
Along with helpful takeaways, the brief includes telling quotes from study participants who shared their personal concerns and experiences that have impacted their acceptance of a vaccine.
To educate and inform the Los Angeles community on the vaccination process, the brief's CTSI co-authors have been heavily involved in local outreach in recent months.
Casillas of UCLA has been advocating for communities
of color, bringing attention to the origins of vaccine hesitancy. Drs. Keith Norris of UCLA and Nina Harawa of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, have participated in local press
interviews and seminars such as with Fox 11 and AAMC.
Norris and Harawa also discussed strengthening medical trust within the Black
community during the pandemic as part of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Symposium held in January 2021 and hosted by UCLA. And most recently, the brief's senior author, Dr. Arleen Brown of UCLA, joined ABC7 News as part of a panel of experts addressing local community questions on the COVID vaccine.
With the newly released policy brief, the authors hope to further contribute to vaccine acceptability in multiethnic groups at high risk for COVID-19 infection and morbidity in Los Angeles County.
Find more information on leaders and investigators in the CTSI's Community Engagement and Research Program.