Many Unvaccinated Latinos in the U.S. Want the Shot, New Survey Finds

About 18 percent of the Latino respondents said they did not yet have permanent residential status in the United States. Though the Biden administration and local public health officials have reiterated that the shots are available to anyone regardless of immigration status, more than half of this group reported being unsure about whether they were eligible to get the shots.

Nearly 40 percent of all the unvaccinated Latinos responding to the survey said they feared they would need to produce government-issued identification to qualify. And about a third said they were afraid that getting the shot would jeopardize either their immigration status or that of a family member.

Many health departments have been undertaking increasingly inventive measures to sign up Spanish speakers and to reassure them that their immigration status will not be endangered, said Erin Mann, the program manager for the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants, based at the University of Minnesota, which advises communities about best practices to reach underserved people. These include having language-specific drive-up lanes for testing and vaccination, holding events in the evenings and having health care workers phone individuals to sign them up.

The results of the poll were drawn from a nationally representative telephone survey, conducted from April 15 to April 29, of 2,097 adults, including 778 English- and Spanish-speaking Latinos.

The report on the findings also explored the disproportionately harsh impact of the pandemic on Latino families, which helped explain their willingness to be vaccinated. About 38 percent of Latino adults said that a relative or close friend had died from Covid-19, compared with 18 percent of white adults who reported having had similar experiences. Two-thirds of Latino adults said they feared that either they or a relative might get sick from the coronavirus. Financial fears related to the pandemic rippled through Latino families, too. Nearly half said they had been adversely affected economically, compared with about one-third of white respondents who said so.

While about a third of unvaccinated Latino adults were eager to get a shot as soon as possible, two-thirds were more reluctant, describing themselves as waiting and seeing (35 percent), only if required by work (13 percent) or definitely not (17 percent). But this group did seem amenable to incentive strategies, the report suggested. For them, improved access would be helpful.

More than half in this group who are overall reluctant and also employed said they would get the shots if their employers gave them paid time off to recover from side effects, a rate nearly three times that of white workers. (The Biden administration has urged companies to adopt the measure.) And 38 percent of this group would be inclined to be vaccinated if their employer arranged for the shots to be distributed at the work site. Nearly four in 10 said they would be more likely to get the shot if their employer provided a $200 incentive to do so.