Covid-19 Vaccine Perception and Hesitancy Among Uninsured Free Clinic Patients

There are many complexities regarding the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines, mainly because the COVID-19 vaccine had a fast track of development compared to vaccines developed in the past years. The purpose of this study is to understand COVID-19 vaccine perception and hesitancy among uninsured free clinic patients using the theory of planned behavior. This study had seven focus groups with 37 total participants, including 19 Spanish speakers. Free clinic adult patients (over the age of 18) participated in four focus groups during Summer of 2021. The average age of the participants was 44.7, and the majority of the participants self-identified as female and Hispanic. Social networks are found to be important factors in reducing vaccine hesitancy. Hesitant patients had concerns related to vaccines’ safety, effectiveness, and side effects. The lack of valid and reliable COVID-19 vaccination information was a challenge among this study’s participants. This exploratory study highlights some of the factors contributing to vaccine behavior among free clinic patients. This study concluded that the influence of family and friends are important motivational factors in vaccine behavior. A future study could focus on the multifaceted influences on vaccine hesitancy among free clinic patients, emphasizing the strong motivational role of family and friends while also addressing concerns about vaccine safety, efficacy, and the dissemination of reliable information.