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A multi-component, community-based strategy to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine uptake among Latinx populations: from theory to practice

By Carina Marquez, Andrew Kerkhoff, Jamie Naso, Maria G Contreras, Edgar Castellanos, Susana Rojas, James Peng, Luis Rubio, Diane Jones, Jon Jacobo, Susy Rojas, Rafael Gonzalez, Jonathan D. Fuchs, Douglas Black, Salustiano Ribeiro, Jen Nossokoff, Valerie Tulier-Laiwa, Jacqueline Martinez, Gabriel Chamie, Genay Pilarowski, Joseph L. DeRisi, Maya Petersen, Diane V. Havlir

Posted 09 Jun 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.06.07.21258230

Background COVID-19 vaccine coverage in the Latinx community depends on delivery systems that overcome barriers such as institutional distrust, misinformation, and access to care. We hypothesized that a community-centered vaccination strategy that included mobilization, vaccination, and "activation" components could successfully reach an underserved Latinx population, utilizing its social networks to boost vaccination coverage. Methods and Findings Our community-academic-public health partnership, "Unidos en Salud," utilized a theory-informed approach to design our "Motivate, Vaccinate, and Activate" COVID-19 vaccination strategy. Our strategy's design was guided by the PRECEDE Model and sought to address and overcome predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing barriers to COVID-19 vaccination faced by Latinx individuals in San Francisco. We evaluated our prototype outdoor, "neighborhood" vaccination program located in a central commercial and transport hub in the Mission District in San Francisco, using the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework during a 16-week period from February 1, 2021 to May 19, 2021. Programmatic data, city-wide COVID-19 surveillance data, and a survey conducted between May 2, 2021 and May 19, 2021 among 997 vaccinated clients at least 16 years old were used in the evaluation. There were 20,792 COVID-19 vaccinations administered at the neighborhood site during the 16-week evaluation period. Vaccine recipients had a median age of 43 (IQR 32-56) years, 53.9% were male and 70.5% were Latinx, 14.1% white, 7.7% Asian, 2.4% Black, and 5.3% other. Latinx vaccinated clients were substantially more likely than non-Latinx clients to have an annual household income of less than $50,000 a year (76.1% vs. 33.5%), be a first-generation immigrant (60.2% vs. 30.1%), not have health insurance (47.3% vs. 16.0%), and not have access to primary care provider (62.4% vs. 36.2%). The most frequently reported reasons for choosing vaccination at the site were its neighborhood location (28.6%), easy and convenient scheduling (26.9%) and recommendation by someone they trusted (18.1%); approximately 99% reported having an overall positive experience, regardless of ethnicity. Notably, 58.3% of clients reported that they were able to get vaccinated earlier because of the neighborhood vaccination site, 98.4% of clients completed both vaccine doses, and 90.7% said that they were more likely to recommend COVID-19 vaccination to family and friends after their experience; these findings did not substantially differ according to ethnicity. There were 40.3% of vaccinated clients who said they still knew at least one unvaccinated person (64.6% knew 3 or more). Among clients who received both vaccine doses (n=729), 91.0% said that after their vaccination experience, they had personally reached out to at least one unvaccinated person they knew (61.6% reached out to 3 or more) to recommend getting vaccinated; 83.0% of clients reported that one or more friends, and/or family members got vaccinated as a result of their outreach, including 18.9% who reported 6 or more persons got vaccinated as a result of their influence. Conclusions A multi-component, "Motivate, Vaccinate, and Activate" community-based strategy addressing barriers to COVID-19 vaccination for the Latinx population reached the intended population, and vaccinated individuals served as ambassadors to recruit other friends and family members to get vaccinated.

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