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Racial/Ethnic Differences in COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Health Care Workers in 2 Large Academic Hospitals.

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2021 Aug 02

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<p><strong>Importance: </strong>Significant differences in hesitancy to receive COVID-19 vaccination by race/ethnicity have been observed in several settings. Racial/ethnic differences in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among health care workers (HCWs), who face occupational and community exposure to COVID-19, have not been well described.</p>

<p><strong>Objective: </strong>To assess hesitancy to COVID-19 vaccination among HCWs across different racial/ethnic groups and assess factors associated with vaccine hesitancy.</p>

<p><strong>Design, Setting, and Participants: </strong>This survey study was conducted among HCWs from 2 large academic hospitals (ie, a children's hospital and an adult hospital) over a 3-week period in November and December 2020. Eligible participants were HCWs with and without direct patient contact. A 3-step hierarchical multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between race/ethnicity and vaccine hesitancy controlling for demographic characteristics, employment characteristics, COVID-19 exposure risk, and being up to date with routine vaccinations. Data were analyzed from February through March 2021.</p>

<p><strong>Main Outcomes and Measures: </strong>Vaccine hesitancy, defined as not planning on, being unsure about, or planning to delay vaccination, served as the outcome.</p>

<p><strong>Results: </strong>Among 34 865 HCWs eligible for this study, 12 034 individuals (34.5%) completed the survey and 10 871 individuals (32.2%) completed the survey and reported their race/ethnicity. Among 10 866 of these HCWs with data on sex, 8362 individuals (76.9%) were women, and among 10 833 HCWs with age data, 5923 individuals (54.5%) were younger than age 40 years. (Percentages for demographic and clinical characteristics are among the number of respondents for each type of question.) There were 8388 White individuals (77.2%), 882 Black individuals (8.1%), 845 Asian individuals (7.8%), and 449 individuals with other or mixed race/ethnicity (4.1%), and there were 307 Hispanic or Latino individuals (2.8%). Vaccine hesitancy was highest among Black HCWs (732 individuals [83.0%]) and Hispanic or Latino HCWs (195 individuals [63.5%]) (P &lt; .001). Among 5440 HCWs with vaccine hesitancy, reasons given for hesitancy included concerns about side effects (4737 individuals [87.1%]), newness of the vaccine (4306 individuals [79.2%]), and lack of vaccine knowledge (4091 individuals [75.2%]). The adjusted odds ratio (aOR) for vaccine hesitancy was 4.98 (95% CI, 4.11-6.03) among Black HCWs, 2.10 (95% CI, 1.63-2.70) among Hispanic or Latino HCWs, 1.48 (95% CI, 1.21-1.82) among HCWs with other or mixed race/ethnicity, and 1.47 (95% CI, 1.26-1.71) among Asian HCWs compared with White HCWs (P &lt; .001). The aOR was decreased among Black HCWs when adjusting for employment characteristics and COVID-19 exposure risk (aOR, 4.87; 95% CI, 3.96-6.00; P &lt; .001) and being up to date with prior vaccines (aOR, 4.48; 95% CI, 3.62-5.53; P &lt; .001) but not among HCWs with other racial/ethnic backgrounds.</p>

<p><strong>Conclusions and Relevance: </strong>This study found that vaccine hesitancy before the authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine was increased among Black, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian HCWs compared with White HCWs. These findings suggest that interventions focused on addressing vaccine hesitancy among HCWs are needed.</p>



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JAMA Netw Open


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