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U of M research: Gender, patient population determines health care workers' vaccine acceptance

Research conducted by the University of Minnesota Medical School found gender and patient population affected health care workers' perspectives on the COVID vaccine.

MINNEAPOLIS — Research led by the University of Minnesota Medical School, published in March, found that health care workers' gender, age, and patient population served affected how likely they were to be accepting of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

At the time of the survey, in April 2021, 88% of 571 respondents said they were "accepting" of the vaccine, defined by the survey as already having gotten it, or were "definitely" planning on it. 

They found that factors making a health care worker more accepting were those who were male, over 65, served in non-rural areas, and had a patient population that included refugees, immigrants, and migrant (RIM) communities.

Specifically, health care workers who served RIM populations were 6% more likely to be vaccine accepting.

Christine Thomas, a third-year infectious disease fellow at the University of Minnesota Medical School who led the research, said an interest in health care workers serving RIM communities is what drove the project. Working alongside the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants (an organization funded by the CDC and housed at the U) they hoped to gain insight from health care workers' experiences.

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"The survey was designed as a pragmatic way to ask health care workers 'what is supportive to you in making your decisions? What is supportive to you in your practice?'"

Thomas said by learning about health care workers' individual perspectives on the vaccine, they were able to glean what kind of resources and learning materials would be most helpful to provide regarding vaccine efficacy and distribution.

"Getting at those very few who said 'I'm not interested in the vaccine right now' is a lot of the reason why we asked about concerns...are they side effects? Are they safety?" Dr. Thomas said. "And then getting the information back and coming back to what would be helpful...educational information and specifically, there is request for vaccine FAQ information."

To read the full research, visit this link.

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