Unemployed Irish men with HIV slower to get Covid-19 vaccine, study shows

Unemployed Irish men who have HIV are slow to get the Covid-19 vaccine, a study shows.

Factors that have impacted the vaccine uptake are social media and low education levels.

Forty medical records of patients attending the HIV outpatient clinic in Beaumont Hospital in April 2021 were analysed, along with information on demographics, ethnicity, occupation, and previous Covid-19 infection history.

Twenty patients, or 53%, were men and 19, or 47%, were female. Twenty (50%) identified as black African, 18 (45%) as caucasian, and two (5%) as other. The age range was between 28 and 62 years, with the average 42.

Sixteen (40%) of patients reported being unemployed, with 24, or 60%, employed.

Twenty-eight, or 70%, of patients were willing to receive, or had received, their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Twelve, or 30%, said they had declined, or would decline, a vaccination when it was offered. Of those, seven, or 58%, had previously declined other vaccinations and nine, or 75%, were unemployed. Seven, or 58%, of patients were Irish and five, or 42%, were black African.

Co-author Dr Rhea O’Regan, from the Department of Infectious Diseases, Beaumont Hospital, said the review demonstrated that vaccine hesitancy is a concern and needs specific attention.

“Of those that were unwilling to take an available vaccine, the majority were unemployed, Irish, and male. Factors which may impact vaccine hesitancy in these groups include low education level and the influence of social media.

“Increased focus on patient education and alleviating concerns should be prioritised at outpatient clinic settings in order to overcome this barrier to maintaining high vaccination uptake among vulnerable population groups.” Vaccine hesitancy of those living with HIV was also down to other chronic underlying conditions.

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