Herzig van Wees S, Stålgren M, Viberg N, Puranen B, Ekström AM, Larsson EC
Vaccine 41 (49) 7476-7481 [2023-11-30; online 2023-11-11]
Despite high COVID-19 vaccination coverage in many European countries, vaccination uptake has been lower among ethnic minorities, including in Sweden. This is in spite of the increased risk of contracting the virus and targeted efforts to vaccinate among first and second generation migrants. The aim of this study was to understand this dilemma by investigating ethnic minorities' perceptions and their experience of accessing the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a qualitative study drawing on 18 semi-structured interviews with health volunteers working in ethnic minority communities and with participants from the two largest ethnic minorities in Sweden (Syria and Somalia). Deductive qualitative analysis was completed using the 3C model by WHO (Complacency, Confidence and Convenience). Complacency does not appear to be a barrier to intention to vaccinate. Participants are well aware of COVID-19 risk and the benefits of the vaccine. However, confidence in vaccine poses a barrier to uptake and there are a lot of questions and concerns about vaccine side effects, efficacy and related rumors. Confidence in health providers, particularly doctors is high but there was a sense of conflicting information. Accessing individually tailored health information and health providers is not convenient and a major reason for delaying vaccination or not vaccinating at all. Trust in peers, schools and faith-leaders is high and constitute pathways for effective health information sharing. Ethnic minorities in Sweden are willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. However, to increase vaccination uptake, access to individually tailored and face to face health information to answer questions about vaccine safety, efficacy, conflicting information and rumors is urgently required.