Disparities in Delaware Caregiver Beliefs about the COVID-19 Vaccine for their Children

Dela J Public Health. 2021 Dec 15;7(5):64-71. doi: 10.32481/djph.2021.12.015. eCollection 2021 Dec.


Objective: To describe sociodemographic disparities in caregiver beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine for their children.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study, linking caregiver-reported data to geocoded sociodemographic data from child EHRs. Caregivers of children receiving care in a Delaware pediatric healthcare system were invited to complete a survey about COVID-19 vaccine beliefs from March 19 to April 16, 2021.

Results: 1499 caregivers participated (18% Black, 11% Hispanic, 32% public insurance, 12% rural). 54% of caregivers intended to vaccinate their children, while 34% were unsure and 12% would not. Caregivers of younger children (aOR 3.70, CI 2.36-5.79), Black children (aOR 2.11, CI 1.50-2.96), and from disadvantaged communities (aOR 1.59, CI 1.05-2.42) were more likely to be unsure and not vaccinate their children. Caregivers from rural communities were more likely not to vaccinate their children (aOR 2.51, CI 1.56-4.05). Fewer caregivers of younger children, Black children, and from disadvantaged communities believed in the safety or efficacy of the vaccines (p < 0.001), while fewer caregivers of younger children and from rural communities believed in their children's susceptibility to COVID-19 or risk of getting severe disease from COVID-19 (p < 0.05). While the majority (72%) of caregivers were influenced by health experts, fewer from communities of color and disadvantaged communities were (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Caregivers of younger children and from communities of color, rural communities, and disadvantaged communities in Delaware expressed more COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Policy implications: This study explores beliefs of different communities in Delaware, which are important to tailoring public health messaging and strategies to increase vaccine uptake in these communities.