Vaccine interest varies by race in Boston

Boston Statehouse

A healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the vaccine centre that has been set up in central Newcastle, Scotland Monday Jan. 11, 2021. The centre is one of the seven mass vaccination centres that opened Monday as the government continues to ramp up the coronavirus vaccination programme. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

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BOSTON (SHNS) – Willingness to get vaccinated for COVID-19 differed significantly among ethnic groups in Boston, a newly published survey found, raising concerns among experts that neighborhoods with larger nonwhite populations may take longer to reach a safe level of immunity from the highly infectious virus.

Based on a survey of 921 Boston residents conducted in September, researchers said Tuesday that roughly one out of every five Hub residents say they do not intend to get vaccinated once it becomes available to their population group.

The rates of interest vary widely: among White respondents, only about 10 percent said they definitely or probably do not plan to get a vaccine, compared to 49 percent of Black respondents and 26 percent of Latinx respondents not planning to pursue immunization.

That trend likely fits into national patterns “related to general mistrust in government and the health care system in particular,” authors wrote, creating a need for city officials to plan neighborhood-level vaccination strategies that can reach different populations.

“We know that neighborhoods continue to be characterized by race and ethnicity,” they wrote. “If some groups are less likely to get vaccines and they tend to live in majority-minority neighborhoods, it may take longer to get vaccination levels to the percentage of people needed to mitigate spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.”

The survey, a joint effort from the Boston Area Research Initiative, UMass Boston’s Center for Survey Research and the Boston Public Health Commission, found several other factors associated with greater reluctance to get a COVID vaccine, including the presence of children in a household and lower formal education.

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