More Hispanic Americans Have Received Covid Vaccinations, Poll Shows

The share of Hispanic people in the U.S. who reported receiving at least one dose of vaccine shot up from July to September, and now exceeds that of non-Hispanic white people.,

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A large share of Hispanic adults got vaccinated over the summer, a survey shows.

A health worker in San Francisco prepares to administer a vaccine dose in one of the city's Hispanic neighborhoods.
A health worker in San Francisco prepares to administer a vaccine dose in one of the city’s Hispanic neighborhoods. Credit…Mike Kai Chen for The New York Times
  • Sept. 29, 2021, 11:25 a.m. ET

The share of Hispanic adults in the U.S. who say they have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine reached 73 percent in September, an increase of 12 percentage points from July, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

The increase was the fastest of any demographic group in the survey, and it put the reported vaccination rate for Hispanic adults slightly ahead of that of white adults.

Experts say that disparities in vaccination rates and access persist in may parts of the country. But they said that the strong increases among Hispanic and Latino adults in the national poll signaled that on-the-ground vaccination efforts focused on the group were paying off.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the chair of the President Biden’s Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force, said Tuesday at a White House news conference that the survey findings “represent much more than simply time passing — they tell the story of an all-of-society effort to get us to where we are today.”

Other surveys have also found high rates of vaccine uptake among Hispanic people. The Pew Research Center found in a survey of 10,000 adults released earlier in September that 76 percent of Hispanic adults were at least partially vaccinated.

“I think there have been some very concerted efforts,” said Dr. Bertha Hidalgo, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Hispanic people, she noted, “were one of the most highly affected groups during the earlier parts of the pandemic, when there were really high numbers of cases and also large numbers of deaths in Latinos.”

Hispanic people in the United States have been 2.3 times as likely as non-Hispanic white people to die of Covid-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A federal report found that from 2019 to 2020, Hispanic Americans experienced a drop in life expectancy of three years, compared with 2.9 years for Black Americans and 1.2 years for non-Hispanic white people.

Because they were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, it is possible that many Latinos have been driven by fearful memories to get the vaccine, said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California.

Hispanic people continue to lag behind in some places, like Los Angeles County, where about 62 percent of Latinos 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, compared with about 72 percent for non-Hispanic white people, according to county data. In Colorado, Hispanic people make up 22 percent of the state’s overall population but only about 12 percent of the vaccinated population.

“We are seeing that Latinos are headed in a more positive direction,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “But it’s not everywhere, so that’s why we need to continue this effort.”

Dr. Hidalgo said that focused measures like walk-up vaccine clinics in church parking lots, making information available in Spanish and promoting vaccination on the widely watched Univision and Telemundo television networks had helped to persuade many initially hesitant Latinos to get shots.

Overcoming hesitancy fueled by misinformation continues to be a hurdle, she said, but support of vaccination by the Catholic Church, the predominant faith among Latinos, has helped.

Locally, community health workers known as promotores de salud who work in Spanish-speaking communities have had success easing anxieties about getting vaccinated, according to Kurt Organista, a professor of social welfare at U.C. Berkeley.

“They’re the ones who really go out with a personal contact to say, ‘Hey listen, you don’t need to worry about your immigration status or ability to pay,'” Dr. Organista said.

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