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Poll focuses on local Hispanic vaccine hesitancy
child vaccine
State health officials announced the earliest time a student vaccine requirement would go into effect is now July 1, 2023 (Photo contributed).

Legacy Health Foundation has been working to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents since its creation in 2014 with programs aimed at mental health, nursing student education, affordable prescriptions and senior day care. Now, Legacy Health is hoping to shine a light on why local Hispanic/Latinx families may be hesitant to have their children vaccinated for COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, there have been 81,403 cases of COVID-19 in Stanislaus County with 1,417 deaths attributed to the disease. Those who are of Hispanic/Latinx ethnicity are the largest group of COVID-19 positive cases in Stanislaus County at 49.5%, followed by White at 31.9%.

The foundation contracted with Justin Wallin Opinion Research to find out how local Hispanic/Latinx families feel about COVID-19 vaccines and why. The poll also seeks to uncover what exactly is driving families’ opinions on vaccinations and what kind of information is missing or reaching these families, with a focus on having children vaccinated.

“One of the things the foundation is always trying to do is to understand how to begin to address or solve entrenched intransigent healthcare problems. And because COVID and vaccines have become such a lightning rod issue in communities, we decided it was important to understand how we could use information we could glean from a poll, in this case focused solely on the Latino community or Spanish-speaking community of how we can intervene, what interventions could be used,” said Legacy Health CEO Jeffery Lewis.

From Oct. 29 to Nov. 3, Wallin Opinion Research conducted a telephone survey of Latino/Hispanic residents from within Stanislaus and Merced counties (19 specific cities and zip codes) that are within Legacy Health Foundation’s service area.

While the research revealed that the community has largely adopted vaccination for themselves, there is a significant proportion of the population (49.0%) that is hesitant to embrace vaccinating children or grandchildren. Moreover, 33.9% of those with children, grandchildren (or both) feel strongly about the issue, indicating an entrenched reticence difficult to overcome.

About one-third (32.8%) of those surveyed with children aged 12 to 18, and 50% of those with grandchildren aged 12 to 18 said that they have not yet had those youths vaccinated for COVID-19. And nearly one-half of those said that they never intend have those children vaccinated for COVID-19.

The research found that familial obligation and protection themes that have traditionally performed well within Latino communities failed to align with a significant proportion of respondents towards vaccine acceptance for children. Nearly one third (29.0%) did not agree that parents should have their children vaccinated to protect the most vulnerable family members.

The research identified that it is possible to convince a meaningful proportion of those that are hesitant to vaccinate their children, grandchildren or both. Over one-fifth (22.2%) of vaccine-hesitant parents, grandparents or both became much more likely to have their children/grandchildren vaccinated after hearing messaging that not only focused on positive themes but also directly addressed known concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines within the Latinx/Hispanic community.

Addressing health concerns with the vaccine itself made the most difference in changing opinions of those who hesitant to vaccinate:

·       -  68.7% became more likely to vaccinate when told that COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with DNA in any way.  

·       -  66.7% became more likely to vaccinate when told that none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you or your children or grandchildren sick with COVID-19.

“While over a majority of those who are hesitant to vaccinate their children and/or grandchildren exhibit insurmountable resistance, about one-third can be convinced by virtue of proven messages, addressing community concerns and leveraging credible messengers such as doctors, clergy and children themselves, acting as a conduit of health and safety information that they learn from school,” wrote Wallin about his final thoughts on the research.

To view the full research findings, visit: