Survey of COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Emergency Department Patients and Caregivers in New York City, USA

Jennifer Egbebike

Name: Jennifer Egbebike
School: Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Class of 2024
Mentor: Tsion Firew, MD, MPH

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This study aims to identify some of the factors that contribute to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy within our patient population and assess patient attitudes surrounding offering COVID-19 vaccines in the Emergency Department (ED). Several studies have assessed reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Disparities in vaccine uptake amongst different demographic groups have also been identified. Younger age, female sex, Black race, Hispanic ethnicity, lack of influenza vaccination in the past 5 years, and lack of a regular source of medical care have been associated with greater vaccine hesitancy. We conducted a survey of 515 patients and caregivers in the adult and pediatric Emergency Departments of CUMC/NYP from March through August 2021. Patients and caregivers voluntarily accessed and completed the survey through a QR code/link provided by physicians, medical students, or flyers posted throughout the adult ED waiting rooms. Our preliminary analysis consists of the first 66 patients who completed the survey (34 adults and 32 caregivers). 64% of adult patients and 81% of caregivers believed the COVID-19 vaccine would be beneficial to their community, however, 56% of adult patients and 59% of caregivers were hesitant to receive the vaccine for themselves. The most common reasons for being hesitant to receive a vaccine were concern about safety of the vaccine and its side effects and poor understanding of the vaccine. 90% of adult patients and 83% of caregivers stated they would take the vaccine for themselves in the Emergency Department if offered. EDs play a critical role in healthcare delivery to underserved and vulnerable populations. Vaccine uptake disparities may be addressed by making COVID-19 vaccines available in the Emergency Department.