Joey Harmon, Melissa C Endy, Michael A Sulzinski, Brian J Piper

Changes in COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy within Pennsylvania over the Course of the Pandemic

Background: The global COVID-19 pandemic highlighted vaccination concerns in Pennsylvania. Limited information on vaccine hesitancy in the state prompted this study, which aimed to characterize demographic determinants of changes in hesitancy since the COVID-19 vaccine's availability. Methods: The US Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey (N = 62,826) provided vaccine hesitancy/status data from January 2021 to April 2022. Specifically surveys from January 2021, June 2021, and April 2022 were utilized. Demographics (race, age, education status, household income, and sex at birth) were compared using odds ratios (ORs) and CI. Results: Significant changes in vaccine hesitancy occurred among certain populations. Initially, odds of vaccination for African Americans were lower (OR 0.683) compared to Whites, but in the latest survey, the odds were higher (OR 1.443). Asians consistently had the highest odds (OR 9.009) of vaccination. In January 2021, odds of vaccination among men were lower (OR 0.856) than women, but later, the odds increased (OR 1.402). Patterns in household income, age, and education status groups remained consistent. Those aged 65 years and over, with a household annual income of more than $150,000, or a bachelor's degree or higher had the highest vaccination rates. Conclusion: Findings indicate stable vaccination patterns among non-race demographic categories during the pandemic. However, the relationship between vaccination status and race was more dynamic. Further qualitative investigations are needed to understand these changes and address inaccurate beliefs surrounding COVID-19 vaccination in Pennsylvania.

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