Disparities in Vaccination Attitudes by Race in the Southeast. February 2021.
CHARLESTON, S.C., March 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A new study by ADoH SCIENTIFIC, a Charleston-based mental and behavioral health analytic assessment company, has found that Black Americans are significantly less likely to get a Covid-19 vaccination, and vaccine hesitancy is particularly prevalent in South Carolina and the Southeast. The growing body of data from ADoH SCIENTIFIC will be used by a consortium of South Carolina-based community organizations, including SCDHEC and Closing the Gap in Healthcare, to inform a public health education campaign called “I Got It!” in communities where vaccine hesitancy remains prevalent
The February 2021 ADoH Affective Health Pulse study, which surveyed a representative sample of 396 adults across five Southeastern States – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee – found that only 19.3% of Black respondents in the Southeast said they were “very likely” to receive a Covid-19 vaccination, compared to 28.5% in a similar national survey conducted in January. By contrast, 50.7% of White respondents in the Southeast study, and 50.6% in the National study, said they were “very likely” to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. The study collected data via ADoH SCIENTIFIC’s Digital Affect Mirror technology, which uses adjustable-graphic images to quantify emotional states and other feelings.
“Ever since the Tuskegee experiments, Black communities have harbored a certain, justified suspicion of public health authorities,” said Dr. Thaddeus John Bell, MD, CEO and Founder of Closing the Gap in Health Care, a Charleston-based non-profit organization that provides health education for African Americans and other underserved populations. “Anything that helps us better understand people’s emotions and attitudes in the Black community will help us engage people, from the neighborhood businesses to the churches.”
Dr. Kylon Jerome Middleton, Senior Pastor at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Charleston County Councilman – District 6, will also participate in the initiative along with other community leaders.
“The COVID-19 crisis is hurting all our communities, but not equally. It is more important now than ever that we clearly communicate the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine to communities of color across the United States, but particularly in Black communities in South Carolina and the Southeast,” Dr. Middleton said. “ADoH SCIENTIFIC’s data shows that the Black community’s attitudes toward vaccination are hesitant at best. Now is the time to partner with and empower trusted voices in the Black community, including faith leaders, Black healthcare professionals and others, to amplify the message of being vaccinated and to minimize fear and doubt surrounding vaccination in an effort to build trust and save lives.”
The ADoH Digital Affect Mirror technology used in the Pulse study allows for accurate, granular data collection for populations’ mental, emotional and behavioral health states at unprecedented scale, free from the biases and shortcomings of other psychological survey methods. The February 2021 survey is the second in a series of planned studies by ADoH SCIENTIFIC intended to track the national and state mental health levels along with vaccination attitudes over time in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Fear is clearly a major driver of vaccine hesitancy, and not the only one,” said Dr. Brian Sullivan, PsyD, ADoH SCIENTIFIC’s Chief Science Officer. “It’s critically important to understand the variety and intensities of feelings driving this hesitancy.”
Among the findings from the February study:
- While 28.5% of African Americans in the National Sample responded “very likely” to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, only 19.3% of African Americans in the Southeastern Sample responded “very likely.”
- 19.5% of African Americans in the National Sample responded “very unlikely” to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, while 22.8% of African Americans in the Southeastern Sample responded “very unlikely.”
- White respondents reported largely positive emotional responses to the prospect of vaccination, while Black respondents reported largely negative emotions.
“Part of getting over this horrible pandemic is going to depend on understanding vaccine hesitancy and educating reluctant populations on the safety and efficacy of the current vaccine program,” said Al Fasola Jr, Co-founder and CEO of ADoH SCIENTIFIC, LLC. “The data from our ADoH Affective Health Pulse suggests that South Carolina and other states in the Southeast will face particular challenges overcoming vaccine hesitancy, and we hope our work within the community can help educate the public on these lifesaving medical interventions.”
The analytic insights from the recent Southeast study will be used to develop a multi-tier community outreach campaign targeted to Black South Carolinians called ‘I GOT IT!’, according to Tony Clark, Director of Community Outreach and Development at Closing the Gap in Healthcare.
“Our ‘I GOT IT!’ campaign will harness the emotional insights from the Pulse study to dispel historical myths, engage the Black community, calm fears and inspire vaccine uptake,” Clark said. “We are currently working with SCDHEC and other organizations who care and want to be part of saving lives and reducing healthcare cost burdens. We are always looking for others to join this important mission.”
About ADoH SCIENTIFIC, LLC
ADoH SCIENTIFIC® is a new data-driven mental and behavioral health analytic assessment company based in Charleston, SC. Using the company’s patented ADoH Digital Affect Mirror technology, ADoH SCIENTIFIC allows mental and behavioral healthcare providers, insurers, employers and patients to more accurately track and predict outcomes according to their mental and emotional states, providing a much-needed tool for understanding whole-person wellness.
For more information, visit adohscientific.com
On Twitter: @ADoH_SCIENTIFIC
About Closing the Gap in Healthcare
Closing the Gap in Healthcare’s mission is to decrease health disparities and increase the health literacy of African Americans and the underserved communities throughout the Carolinas. The organization accomplishes this by providing health education programs that promote wellness and healthy lifestyles and hopes to increase the number of African American health providers in the state of South Carolina. A long-term strategic partnership has now been developed with ADoH SCIENTIFIC, LLC to bring new analytic insights on emotions, feelings and behavioral health of African Americans to the forefront to better inform our outreach and engagement to reduce all health disparities.
For more information, visit: http://closingthegapinhealthcare.org
A graph accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/56975fe5-ab99-4924-9a2c-6048c3e62602
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