Closing the Gap on COVID-19 Vaccinations in First Responders and Beyond: Increasing Trust

Megan E. Gregory, Sarah R. Macewan, Alice A. Gaughan, Laura J. Rush, Jonathan R. Powell, Jordan D. Kurth, Eben Kenah, Ashish R. Panchal, Ann Scheck McAlearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Although COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in the U.S. and much of the world, many have chosen to forgo this vaccination. Emergency medical services (EMS) professionals, despite their role on the frontlines and interactions with COVID-positive patients, are not immune to vaccine hesitancy. Via a survey conducted in April 2021, we investigated the extent to which first responders in the U.S. trusted various information sources to provide reliable information about COVID-19 vaccines. Those vaccinated generally trusted healthcare providers as a source of information, but unvaccinated first responders had fairly low trust in this information source—a group to which they, themselves, belong. Additionally, regardless of vaccination status, trust in all levels of government, employers, and their community as sources of information was low. Free-response explanations provided some context to these findings, such as preference for other COVID-19 management options, including drugs proven ineffective. A trusted source of COVID-19 vaccination information is not readily apparent. Individuals expressed a strong desire for the autonomy to make vaccination decisions for themselves, as opposed to mandates. Potential reasons for low trust, possible solutions to address them, generalizability to the broader public, and implications of low trust in official institutions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number644
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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