Texas State University releases new findings on COVID vaccine hesitancy

The first survey was done in partnership with TAMACC and Your Shot Texas

Professors at Texas State University conducted a survey of 255 Texas residents aged 18 to 25, who identified as Hispanic, in early March and found that doubt about the Covid-19 vaccine’s effectiveness was the main reason for hesitancy, which they also found was greater among women than among men.

Survey results showed that there was a correlation between higher levels of education and hesitancy in getting the vaccine. Respondents said that they equally got their information from both English and Spanish-language sources, but they trust news in English more. About 43% of the respondents said they felt confident in taking the shot themselves. Only 32% said they felt comfortable giving the vaccine to children.

This becomes increasingly important as the COVID-19 numbers spike again nationwide and healthcare experts worry about a new wave of infections.

The Texas Department of Health reports 1.75 million confirmed cases of COVID in the state just since the beginning of 2022. There have also been 11,499 fatalities since January. And while Hispanics are getting vaccinated at a higher rate than non-Hispanics, there is room for improvement. Especially when Latinos work in essential fields, are exposed at a higher rate, and have less access to quality healthcare.

According to the latest figures as of the beginning of April, 65% of Latinos in Texas have been vaccinated. That means that there are 35% who still haven’t taken the shot, according to the Keiser Family Foundation.

The Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) will continue its campaign to fight misinformation and provide Texans with the confidence they need to take the shot. Utilizing the findings from the TXST research will help us determine messaging and delivery to combat the COVID-19 virus.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” said TAMACC Foundation Chairman J.R. Gonzáles. “We really need to get our community as close to 100% vaccinated as possible. We don’t want to go back to the death and social and economic destruction that the first two years of COVID brought.”

TAMACC will soon publish more findings on its website. “We’re going to be releasing information throughout the summer,” Gonzáles said, adding that there would be additional research and message testing.

The award-winning research – one of six peer-reviewed projects chosen by Health Scholar Showcase, part of TXST’s Translational Health Research Center – also found that a family’s influence had more impact than the opinion of religious leaders or the politics surrounding COVID. That’s why the campaign should target women and college-educated Texans in both English and Spanish.

“Previous studies from the Nielsen Consumer Research show that Latinas make a majority of health-related decisions in the household. This survey found they are more hesitant than males to get the vaccine for themselves or their children,” said Texas State Professor Jennifer Scharlach, who conducted the study along with Dr. Prisca Ngondo, and Dr. Vanessa Higgins Joyce.

TAMACC’s efforts to get more Hispanics vaccinated, in coordination with Your Shot Texas, will continue throughout the summer and include educational webinars in English and Spanish, presentations for chamber members and partners, PSAs for AM and FM radio, social media posts, podcasts, and an online toolbox with resources.

TAMACC, a statewide nonprofit umbrella organization for Hispanic chambers and business organizations, will share tools with its members and industry leaders. There will also be webinars scheduled to share the information and coordinate efforts in rural Texas cities.

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