UH Reveals Vaccine Hesitancy Factors In Recent Study

The University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) and Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC) partnered in a research paper to learn more about vaccine hesitancy factors in Hawaii.

Published on August 31 in MDPI’s journal titled Vaccines, the paper is titled “Dynamics of Trust and Consumption of COVID-19 Information Implicate a Mechanism for COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Uptake.”

UH researches surveyed almost 1,6000 Hawaii adults enrolled in COVID-19 testing program. Participants completed standardized surveys from January to February 2021. They answered questions regarding demographics, vaccination status and trust in sources of COVID-19 information during the COVID-19 delta variant wave. Then during the omicron variant wave, 50.3% of those respondents complete ed a follow-up survey from January to February 2022.

Results of the study show that participants vaccinated within two months of eligibility tended to have more years of schooling and greater trust in  and consumption of official sources of COVID-19 information, compared to those who waited three to six months or more to get vaccinated post-eligibility.

Seventy percent of those vaccinated within two months of eligibility took the booster shot, compared to only 30.5% of those who waited three to six months. The latter group also expressed that they gained trust and consumption of official information after four months.

“This study shows that social factors, including education and individual-level degree of trust in sources of COVID-19 information, played a large part in whether someone decided to get a booster shot,” said Ruben Juarez, one of the authors of the study and an economics professor at UHM and HMSA Endowed Professor of Health Economics at UHM’s Economic Research Organization.

Fellow author and associate professor at UH’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Alika Maunakea said: “Results from our study reinforces the need to nurture trust and promote health literacy in our community, which our model predicts will improve vaccine uptake, including boosters.”

Co-author May Okihiro, JABSOM associate professor and WCCHC pediatrician, says: “This date provides critical information for the Department of Health and our community of health centers to act on the development of effective strategies that include vaccination to help us emerge out of this pandemic.”

Aside from Juarez, Maunakea and Okihiro, other co-authors include UHERO graduate research assistant Zheng Khang, JABSOM computational biologist Krit Phankitnirundorn and WCCHC community facilitator Blane K. Garcia. To read the full text of the research paper, head to https://www.mdpi.com/2076-393X/10/9/1435.


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