Understanding the Role of Misinformation in COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in a Rural State

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Medical Education

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OBJECTIVE: to identify factors associated with COVID19 vaccine hesitancy, including sources of information among residents of Maine. METHODS: 148 study participants, recruited through community partners and primary care offices in Maine, completed an anonymous 15 item online survey. Recruitment and data collection occurred from May to September, 2021. Hesitancy was determined through a single question, "Will you get one of the COVID vaccines when it is offered to you?" RESULTS: vaccine hesitant respondents were younger than not hesitant respondents ( = 0.01). Hesitant individuals were significantly more likely to report concerns regarding the speed of COVID-19 vaccine production, vaccine efficacy, and potential vaccine side effects ( < 0.05 for each). Hesitant individuals were also significantly more likely to have discussed vaccination with their primary physician ( = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: overall, hesitant individuals are more likely to be younger and had less trust in information from government sources, but they sought input from primary care. They were also more concerned about efficacy, side effects, and the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines. Primary care physicians are in key positions to address these concerns due to contact with individuals who need accurate information.