How physicians can boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake among Spanish-speaking pregnant individuals

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Discover the crucial findings from a recent study investigating vaccine decision-making among Spanish-speaking pregnant individuals, highlighting the pivotal role doctors play in dispelling vaccine hesitancy and fostering acceptance through targeted information dissemination and culturally sensitive approaches.

How physicians can boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake among Spanish-speaking pregnant individuals | Image Credit: © myskin - © myskin - stock.adobe.com.

How physicians can boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake among Spanish-speaking pregnant individuals | Image Credit: © myskin - © myskin - stock.adobe.com.

Doctors and medical providers can provide health information to improve vaccine uptake among Spanish speaking pregnant individuals, according to a recent study.

Takeaways

  1. The study highlights the crucial role of doctors and medical providers in improving vaccine uptake among Spanish-speaking pregnant individuals.
  2. The research emphasizes the vulnerability of pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic, with high rates of morbidity and mortality observed among unvaccinated individuals.
  3. The study identifies a need for more data to understand how vaccine information can effectively reach vulnerable groups, particularly those in specific racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic categories.
  4. The study focuses on Spanish-speaking pregnant individuals in rural counties across several states. Recruitment through social media platforms and qualitative interviews conducted via Zoom provided insights into the factors influencing vaccine decision-making in this specific demographic.
  5. The research identifies doctors as the most favorable messengers for vaccine information among participants. Text-heavy ads, particularly those reinforcing messages from doctors about the safety of vaccines and the transfer of antibodies from mother to fetus, were found to be the most effective in promoting vaccine acceptance within the Spanish-speaking pregnant population.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mortalities were especially high among vulnerable groups, including pregnant women. Rates of morbidity and mortality were especially common among unvaccinated individuals, with causes for vaccine hesitancy including vaccine disinformation about impacts on fertility or fetal development.

Information positively influencing vaccine uptake is vital to increase vaccination rates among reproductive aged women. However, more data is required to understand how vulnerable groups can receive vaccine information. Data is also necessary to determine how vaccine information can reach vaccine hesitant individuals in specific racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

Investigators conducted a study to evaluate factors impacting vaccine decision-making among Spanish-speaking pregnant individuals in the United States. Participants included Spanish speaking individuals who were pregnant or gave birth within 6 months of a qualitive interview, which occurred between November 2022 and June 2023.

Study areas included rural counties in Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. Ads targeting pregnant women aged 18 to 40 years on Facebook and Instagram were used to recruit participants. Rural status was confirmed by cross-referencing zip codes with a tool from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Surveys were used to gather education, income, race, political affiliation, marital status, employment, religious affiliation, and COVID-19 vaccine status data. After survey completions, a 45-to-60-minute interview over Zoom was conducted to discuss COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine hesitancy sources, and social media use.

Sixteen ads promoting the COVID-19 vaccine were shown to participants during the interview, during which they responded with their initial reactions during the interview. Participants assessed 4 advertisements about COVID-19 vaccines on a closed-ended Likert scale after the interview.

There were 4 potential messengers delivering advertisements: peer, doctor, elder, and faith leader. Of these, doctor was ranked as the most favorable messenger among participants. Additionally, text-heavy ads were the most favorably ranked content.

Key themes observed during interviews included immigration status, doctors as a trusted messenger, targeted messages on vaccination benefits for protection of the recipient and fetus, and generational history of vaccine acceptance. Notably, text-heavy ads reinforcing messages from doctors about the safety of vaccines and effect of antibodies being passed from mother to fetus were the most effective.

Failure for a provider to initiate COVID-19 vaccine discussion was reported by multiple participants, indicating missed opportunities to educate patients. When a medical provider did not speak Spanish, some participants spoke to a nurse or ancillary staff for vaccine information instead.

These results indicated a vital role for doctors and other medical providers to deliver COVID-19 vaccine information to Spanish-speaking populations in the United States. Investigators concluded this data can be used to transform vaccine hesitancy into vaccine acceptance within the Spanish-speaking pregnant population.

Reference

Sanchez M, Martel I, Cox E. Factors influencing COVID-19 vaccine uptake among Spanish-speaking pregnant people. Vaccines (Basel). 2023;11(11):1726. doi:10.3390/vaccines11111726

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