Svallfors S, Larsson EC, Puranen B, Ekström AM
Eur J Public Health 33 (4) 687-694 [2023-08-01; online 2023-05-25]
In many countries, immigrants face higher risks of contracting and dying from COVID-19 compared with the native-born population. Moreover, their COVID-19 vaccination uptake tends to be lower. This study aimed to investigate COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in relation to sociodemographic characteristics, COVID-19-related exposures and social values, norms and perceptions among first-generation immigrants in Sweden. Vaccine hesitancy is an important public health issue to ensure protection against vaccine-preventable mortality and morbidity. Nation-wide representative data were collected by the Migrant World Values Survey. Descriptive and multinomial multivariate analyses were performed to analyze vaccine hesitancy among 2612 men and women aged ≥16 years. One-quarter of the respondents expressed some degree of vaccine hesitancy; 5% said they would definitely not vaccinate, 7% probably not, 4% did not know and 7% did not want to answer. Young age, arriving to Sweden during the large migration wave in 2015, Eastern European origin, female gender, lower education and low trust in authorities, and less perceived benefits of vaccination were all significant determinants of vaccine hesitancy. The results underscore the importance of trust in healthcare providers and government authorities. Additionally, the importance of providing adequate and targeted information about vaccination to groups who face the largest barriers to care, enabling informed decision-making about the benefits and risks of vaccination in relation to health risks. Given these health risks, it is crucial that government agencies and the health sector address the multiple social dimensions that shape the low vaccine uptake and, in turn, health equity.