Given that the success of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relies on herd immunity, identifying patients at risk for vaccine hesitancy is imperative-particularly for those at high risk for severe COVID-19 (i.e., minorities and patients with neurological disorders).
Among patients from a large neuroscience institute in Hawaii, vaccine hesitancy was investigated in relation to over 30 sociodemographic variables and medical comorbidities, via a telephone quality improvement survey conducted between 23 January 2021 and 13 February 2021.
Vaccine willingness ( = 363) was 81.3%. Univariate analysis identified that the odds of vaccine acceptance reduced for patients who do not regard COVID-19 as a severe illness, are of younger age, have a lower Charlson Comorbidity Index, use illicit drugs, or carry Medicaid insurance. Multivariable logistic regression identified the best predictors of vaccine hesitancy to be: social media use to obtain COVID-19 information, concerns regarding vaccine safety, self-perception of a preexisting medical condition contraindicated with vaccination, not having received the annual influenza vaccine, having some high school education only, being a current smoker, and not having a prior cerebrovascular accident. Unique amongst males, a conservative political view strongly predicted vaccine hesitancy. Specifically for Asians, a higher body mass index, while for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHPI), a positive depression screen, both reduced the odds of vaccine acceptance.
Upon identifying the variables associated with vaccine hesitancy amongst patients with neurological disorders, our clinic is now able to efficiently provide ancillary COVID-19 education to sub-populations at risk for vaccine hesitancy. While our results may be limited to the sub-population of patients with neurological disorders, the findings nonetheless provide valuable insight to understanding vaccine hesitancy.