Methods: Mixed-method data were analyzed from an NIH community-engaged research study to increase COVID-19 awareness and education in AZ. Fourteen focus groups were conducted virtually on Zoom with 71 participants who identified as Hispanic/Latinx across southern, central and northern regions of AZ. Focus group participants completed an online survey prior to focus group participation to collect demographic information and vaccination status. Participants were 18 years of age or older, identified as a member of the Hispanic/Latinx community, resided in AZ, and had an email address to receive Zoom link, online survey, and $45.00 e-gift card incentive. Individuals were screened for their language preference (i.e., English or Spanish). In total, nine focus groups were conducted in English and 5 were conducted in Spanish between February and June 2021. The research team expanded the use of snowball sampling with a “family or friends” recruitment strategy to increase participation for members of intergenerational households. Two Latinx researchers facilitated focus groups in English or Spanish using semi-structured questions. Participants were asked about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic including the effects of the pandemic on their families and their community. Audio recordings of focus groups were transcribed, Spanish focus groups were transcribed in Spanish, then translated to English by certified translators. Thematic coding centered on vaccine hesitancy, vaccine confidence, and trusted sources of health information. These codes were then categorized into subthemes and inter-rater reliability was assessed via team discussions and any discrepancies were resolved by a third researcher.
Results: Using an explanatory model of health framework, Hispanic/Latinx participants described vaccine hesitancy as a result of not having enough relevant information (i.e., vaccines’ side effects) and having negative feelings and attitudes about the vaccine. In contrast, vaccine confidence was attributed to protecting one’s family, fear of getting sick, one’s civic duty, a desire for normalcy, and placing trust in science.
Conclusions and Implications: Ultimately this information is significant to develop targeted public health messaging to increase vaccination acceptance and uptake across diverse Hispanic/Latin communities in AZ and potentially in other states where there is a large population of Hispanic/Latinx residents.
Arizona Department of Health Services. (2022). Arizona Covid-19 Dashboard. Retrieved January 14, 2022, from https://www.azdhs.gov/covid19/data/index.php