A push to create information tools to boost vaccine uptake among Hispanic is underway. Hispanic people make up a larger share of vaccinated people (21%) and people who recently received a vaccination (35%) compared to their share of the total population (19%), yet substantial regional pockets of vaccine refusal exist. .The CDC also reports the race/ethnicity of people who have received an additional/booster vaccine dose at the federal level. Among this group, 62% of booster recipients were White, 8% were Black, 8% were Asian, 15% were Hispanic, and AIAN and NHOPI people made up less than 1% of recipients (0.7% and 0.3%, respectively). The shares of Black and Hispanic people who have received a booster dose are lower than their shares of fully vaccinated people ages 12 and older (10% and 20%, respectively)
Previous research has shown that families of color, including those who identify as Hispanic/Latino, who have a child with autism spectrum disorder are more vaccine-hesitant toward childhood vaccines compared to Caucasian parents who have a child with autism. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Brigham Young University will examine attitudes toward childhood vaccines (including influenza and COVID-19) and factors associated with vaccine hesitancy among Spanish-speaking parents of children with and without autism through a new study funded through the Kochel Lab for Clinical Autism Research.
“We want to understand this phenomenon specifically within this group because we know we have a large segment of our population who are Spanish-speaking and who haven’t participated in this research before because the questionnaires weren’t available in Spanish,” said Dr. Robin Kochel, associate professor of pediatrics-psychology at Baylor and associate director for research at the Texas Children’s Hospital Autism Center. “Given the higher chance of vaccine hesitancy among Hispanic families, we feel it is really important to understand their perspectives.”
Factors associated with being vaccine-hesitant, such as lower levels of parent education or having a child with a more severe presentation of autism, have been identified in earlier studies. Researchers aim to understand if this aligns with Spanish-speaking families, as well. The team of researchers will study factors that may be associated with vaccine hesitancy, including demographics, acculturation, adjustment to an autism diagnosis and perceptions about autism and its causes. This information can be used to identify vaccine concerns specific to Spanish-speaking families and inform the design of strategies to reduce vaccine hesitancy that may lead to childhood vaccination delays/refusal.
Kochel and her team developed a series of questionnaires for parents of children under the age of 17 to fill out electronically. Families can participate remotely and are not required to visit a clinic. Families also do not have to be involved with any of the clinical sites at Baylor, UT-RGV or BYU. To participate, a parent/caregiver can complete a survey. Those who participate have a chance to win one of 10 e-tablets.