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Unpacking Barriers to COVID-19 Vaccination in Latino Communities

A study from Penn Nursing and others finds that for Latino or Hispanic populations in the U.S. four main barriers come into play: access to health care services, money, immigration concerns, and misinformation.

November 16, 2022
   Adriana Perez, PhD, the Anthony Buividas Term Chair in Gerontology and Associate Professor of Nursing

Adriana Perez, PhD, the Anthony Buividas Term Chair in Gerontology and Associate Professor of Nursing

More than 42 million people in the United States who identify as Latino or Hispanic have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This statistic, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID data tracker, tells one side of the story regarding Latino people, who make up about 19% of the U.S. population or 62 million Americans.

But a research team including Penn’s Adriana Perez, Elena Portacolone from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), David X. Marquez from the University of Illinois Chicago, and colleagues wanted to better understand the other side: What might deter millions of unvaccinated Latino people from getting a shot that could protect them against the coronavirus?

In a qualitative study conducted between April and June 2020—before a COVID-19 vaccine existed—the researchers learned that for Latino communities four main barriers come into play: access to appropriate health care services, money, immigration concerns, and misinformation. The team shared its findings in the journal PLOS ONE.

“We’re falling short on outreach that is culturally and linguistically relevant, that is considerate of people who aren’t just culturally diverse but who have specific needs and continue to struggle with equity and access,” says Perez, an associate professor in Penn’s School of Nursing.

This is an excerpt from a longer story which was first published in Penn Today. It was written by Michele Berger, senior science news officer in University Communications.

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