Study says vaccine hesitancy is complex, but may be minimized when recommendations come from a trusted physician

Updated 4/8/2022 11:00 PM

Doctors and researchers from Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago published a study focused on veterans' willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The research shows the importance of patients' trust in physicians, healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical manufacturers and the government when making health decisions.

Jesse Brown VA Medical Center researchers surveyed and interviewed over 180 unvaccinated veterans at JBVAMC who received both VA care and a diagnostic test for COVID-19.


The study found that the 40% of its participants disagreed that they would get the COVID-19 vaccine. Those participants were more likely younger, female, and to have fewer comorbid medical conditions.

In-depth interviews revealed several barriers to COVID-19 vaccination, including lack of trust in the government and vaccine manufacturers, concerns about the speed of vaccine development, fear of adverse effects, and fear the vaccine was a tool of racism. However, researchers found that willingness to accept vaccination was associated with reliance on a doctor or family member's recommendation and with a belief that vaccines are effective.

"This study fills a hole in current research on willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, focusing solely on veterans," said Dr. Howard Gordon, co-author of the study and doctor at JBVAMC. "It highlights the complexity of patients' deliberation about COVID-19 vaccination and may help physicians and other health care providers understand patients' perspectives about COVID-19 vaccination."

To read the study in its entirety, visit BMC Infectious Diseases.

Jesse Brown VA Medical Center has provided more than 58,000 COVID-19 vaccines to veterans, spouses, caregivers, and employees so far. To learn more about the different services Jesse Brown VA Medical Center offers to veterans, visit our website.

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