Mixed methods approach to understanding COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among immigrants in the Chicago

Mary Grace Sharp, Paula Lozano, Alia Southworth, Aven Peters, Helen Lam, Fornessa T. Randal, Michael Quinn, Karen E. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy has been particularly high among immigrant populations, whose experience is shaped by a history of racism and discriminations, and distrust of the healthcare system. In this study we draw from the Theory of Planned Behavior to examine COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among immigrants in Chicago. Methods: A mixed-methods approach comprising of both focus groups and a health survey was conducted from February to August 2022. Five focus groups were held (N = 35) among Black, Asian and Arab/Palestine participants to understand attitudes and beliefs around the COVID-19 vaccine. Focus groups were analyzed using a modified template approach to text analysis. Based on these findings and themes, we developed a survey that was conducted among 413 immigrants from the mentioned communities. We used hierarchical ordinal regression analyses to examine the relationship between COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and vaccination status. Results: Qualitative analysis suggest that the major factors influencing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy included fear of adverse reactions, misinformation around COVID-19 and the vaccine, negative social norms around vaccination, and external pressure to get vaccinated. From our quantitative analysis we found that 24% of participants were unvaccinated, 5% were partially vaccinated, 32.3% were vaccinated but not boosted, and 39% were vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19. Hierarchical regression models suggest that immigrants who hold negative attitudes and social norms around the COVID-19 vaccine are less likely to vaccinate. Conclusions: Understanding vaccine hesitancy among immigrants allows for the creation of culturally and linguistically tailored education that can be utilized to increase vaccine confidence and uptake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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