UH Moment

UH Moment: Addressing Concerns About COVID-19 Vaccines

“There has been vaccine hesitancy for a long time for a lot of reasons because of misinformation and disinformation.”

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With many Americans skeptical about the safety and effectiveness of new vaccines, the University of Houston is working to understand why people are hesitant to be vaccinated and how to change their perceptions.

"There has been vaccine hesitancy for a long time for a lot of reasons because of misinformation and disinformation. To be a part of a coordinated effort to not only assess perceptions and concerns but also to develop approaches to help mitigate any further damage to communities is critically important, said Bettina Beech, professor at the UH College of Medicine."

As part of the National Institutes of Health's Texas Community Engagement Alliance Consortium, Beech and her colleagues at the UH College of Medicine are targeting underserved communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

According to a study by Texas A&M, 31% of the public does not intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine with African Americans and women the least likely to be vaccinated. The UH team is working with community organizations Change Happens and the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans to conduct virtual dialogue sessions about vaccines and testing.

"You can't make changes if you don't know where people stand. It is critically important to be able to work with communities to increase that acceptance in participation so that we can get beyond this pandemic."

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