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This article is the author’s final published version in Delaware Journal of Public Health, Volume 7, Issue 5, 2021.

The published version is available at Copyright © Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association.


Objective: To describe sociodemographic disparities in caregiver beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine for their children. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study, linking caregiver-reported data to geocoded sociodemographic data from child EHRs. Caregivers of children receiving care in a Delaware pediatric healthcare system were invited to complete a survey about COVID-19 vaccine beliefs from March 19 to April 16, 2021. Results: 1499 caregivers participated (18% Black, 11% Hispanic, 32% public insurance, 12% rural). 54% of caregivers intended to vaccinate their children, while 34% were unsure and 12% would not. Caregivers of younger children (aOR 3.70, CI 2.36-5.79), Black children (aOR 2.11, CI 1.50-2.96), and from disadvantaged communities (aOR 1.59, CI 1.05-2.42) were more likely to be unsure and not vaccinate their children. Caregivers from rural communities were more likely not to vaccinate their children (aOR 2.51, CI 1.56-4.05). Fewer caregivers of younger children, Black children, and from disadvantaged communities believed in the safety or efficacy of the vaccines (p < 0.001), while fewer caregivers of younger children and from rural communities believed in their children’s susceptibility to COVID-19 or risk of getting severe disease from COVID-19 (p < 0.05). While the majority (72%) of caregivers were influenced by health experts, fewer from communities of color and disadvantaged communities were (p<0.001). Conclusions: Caregivers of younger children and from communities of color, rural communities, and disadvantaged communities in Delaware expressed more COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Policy implications: This study explores beliefs of different communities in Delaware, which are important to tailoring public health messaging and strategies to increase vaccine uptake in these communities.

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