Held by grandmother Maria Ortiz, 11-year-old Star Estrada, center, grimaces as registered nurse Angela Coomds collects a nasal swab sample from her in a COVID-19 triage tent at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020.

Held by grandmother Maria Ortiz, 11-year-old Star Estrada, center, grimaces as registered nurse Angela Coomds collects a nasal swab sample from her in a COVID-19 triage tent at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jae C. Hong/AP

Latinos Are the Most Eager to Get Vaccinated, Survey Shows — But Face Obstacles

A new survey shows that unvaccinated Hispanics are almost twice as likely as unvaccinated Blacks or whites to want a COVID-19 vaccination. But many still face a variety of access problems, ranging from fear to time squeeze.

Hispanics who have yet to receive a covid shot are about twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites or Blacks to say they’d like to get vaccinated as soon as possible, according to a survey released Thursday. The findings hint at fixable, though difficult, vaccine access problems for the population.

One-third of unvaccinated Hispanics say they want the shots, compared with 17% of Blacks and 16% of whites, according to the survey released Thursday by KFF. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

The results reflect an opportunity for public health departments and local governments to reach out to Hispanics with information and vaccinating teams, said Liz Hamel, vice president and director of public opinion and survey research at KFF and director of the organization’s monthly covid vaccine surveys.

“There definitely is a large chunk of the Hispanic population that’s eager to get it, but they just have either not been able to fit it into their schedule, or they have some concerns or questions or they haven’t been able to access it,” Hamel said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 13% of people in the U.S. who have received at least one vaccine dose are Hispanics, though they make up about 17% of the overall population. (Only about half of the CDC’s data includes the race or ethnicity of vaccinated individuals.)

Among unvaccinated Hispanics, 64% were worried about missing work because of vaccine side effects, and 52% were concerned about having to pay for the shots — although the shots are offered at no cost. These numbers are even higher for Hispanics who lacked lawful permanent resident status.

“It’s hard for somebody who lives day-to-day to take off half a day to come to a clinic and try to get a vaccination,” said Dr. José Pérez, chief medical officer of the South Central Family Health Center, a nonprofit health organization with clinic locations throughout South Los Angeles. “If they don’t work that day, they don’t earn a living and they don’t eat.”

Those facing immigration issues were more likely to be worried about being asked to show government-issued ID or a Social Security number, according to the KFF survey.

The Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies scared people away from seeking any public health services, for fear it could jeopardize their immigration status, Pérez said.

“For Americans who are used to having order in their life, and don’t have to be fearful of this or that, this may seem a little bit foreign,” he said. “But for the immigrant community in South L.A., these are factors that they deal with on an everyday basis.”

Despite the survey’s hopeful message, Pérez’s organization has administered only a fraction of the doses it has on hand, although it has expanded vaccination sites and now offers a shot to anyone who walks into one of its clinics, Pérez said.

“All we can do is continue to push, educate and continue to put our name out there,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll catch up.”

The Biden administration recently announced tax credits for small businesses that give their workers paid time off to get the shot and recover in case of side effects. Providers are not allowed to charge people for the covid vaccine, and must give out shots regardless of immigration status or health insurance coverage.

In California, where Hispanics make up nearly 40% of the population, 48% of covid deaths and 63% of covid infections, about 32% have received vaccinations. Cases and deaths are especially concentrated in dense, low-income neighborhoods that are majority Latino.

Community health clinics and organizations throughout the state are taking the case for vaccinations to sidewalks, supermarkets and anywhere else people gather, seeking to ensure people know how to sign up for a shot.

In the ZIP code around South Central Family Health Center’s main site, only 16% of eligible residents had at least one shot as of May 7, according to the California Department of Public Health’s vaccine tracker. Five months into the nation’s vaccination campaign, as the CDC relaxes mask recommendations, the clinic is still pushing the importance of masks because of how few people have been vaccinated, Pérez said.

“Vaccine hesitancy” has become a catch-all excuse to explain low rates of vaccinations among minority populations, but the problem is complex, said Nancy Mejía, chief program officer of Latino Health Access in Santa Ana, California, a nonprofit that contracts with Orange County to bring covid vaccine to Latinos.

Her group’s community health workers, or promotoras, encounter people who face a wide variety of obstacles to get the shot, she said.

“We hear all of these questions about, ‘Well, I don’t have health insurance,’ or ‘Do I have to pay?’ or ‘I don’t have email, how do I register?’” Mejía said. “When folks talk about hesitancy, we really have to ask what it is that we’re talking about, and not continue to place blame on individuals who actually have really good questions.”

Now that demand for vaccine appointments has plunged, Mejía and her group are focusing more on mobile vaccine events at condominium buildings, swap meets and parking lots where pedestrians and residents can simply walk up. The events are happening in the evenings after work or on the weekends to make the decision to get vaccinated as easy as possible.

“We’re seeing other places that have been open the entire day and gotten only five people in,” she said. “So, for us being open just a few hours in the evening, and getting over 100 people — that’s a success story.”

Carmelo Morales, a 35-year-old Los Angeles resident, used to count himself among the vaccine skeptical. After talking to friends and seeing posts on Instagram, he feared the shots might be a plot to make people sick. He didn’t see the urgency of getting a shot.

But Morales, who works in a meatpacking plant, has been deeply affected by the cases and deaths he has seen among colleagues and their families over the past year. One day in late April, as he was walking home from work, he noticed health care workers at a church near his house packing up after a covid vaccine event.

He asked if there were any leftover doses, and because his house was nearby, nurses waited for him to run home to get his ID so he could get his first shot.

“I just thought about it and was like, hey, it’d be better just to be maybe on the safer side.”

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

Subscribe to KHN's free Morning Briefing.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.