COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among patients in two urban emergency departments
Vaccine hesitancy is common among emergency department (ED) patients, and more common among Black and younger patients, independent of education level. This is the conclusion of a study titled COVID‐19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Patients in Two Urban Emergency Departments, to be published in the October 2021 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM), a peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).
According to the study including over 1,000 patients from the Philadelphia area, hesitant patients report perceived concerns about safety and insufficient research. Additionally, hesitant patients were less likely to trust government sources of health information than friends and family. This suggests strategies to combat hesitancy may need new approaches and tailoring to specific populations.
The authors stress that an important opportunity to address vaccine hesitancy lies in EDs serving minority and under-resourced communities that experience increased levels of vaccine hesitancy, restricted access to the vaccine, and high COVID-19 disease burdens. As such, EDs may represent valuable sites for vaccine education and direct vaccination efforts.
The lead author of the study is Benjamin S. Abella, MD, MPhil, professor and vice chair for research and director of the Center for Resuscitation Science in the department of emergency medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
Commenting on the study is Harrison J. Alter, MD, MS, founding executive director and director of research at the Andrew Levitt Center for Social Emergency Medicine.
"This paper points us to yet another application of meeting our most vulnerable neighbors where they are; in the ED. ED-based outreach, informed by cultural humility, could help make inroads in the disparities described herein."