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17.05.2021 | COVID-19 | Original Paper Zur Zeit gratis

Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Covid-19 and Vaccines Among a New York Haredi-Orthodox Jewish Community

Journal of Community Health
Ellie R. Carmody, Devon Zander, Elizabeth J. Klein, Mark J. Mulligan, Arthur L. Caplan
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The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the difficulty of the US public health system to respond effectively to vulnerable subpopulations, causing disproportionate rates of morbidity and mortality. New York Haredi-Orthodox Jewish communities represent a group that have been heavily impacted by Covid-19. Little research has examined their experience or perceptions toward Covid-19 and vaccines. We conducted a cross-sectional, observational study to explore the experience of Covid-19 among Haredim. Paper surveys were self-administered between December 2020 and January 2021 in Haredi neighborhood pediatricians’ offices in Brooklyn, New York. Of 102 respondents, 43% reported either a positive SARS-CoV-2 viral or antibody test. Participants trusted their physicians, Orthodox medical organizations, and rabbinic leaders for medical information. Knowledge of Covid-19 transmission and risk was good (69% answered ≥ 4/6 questions correctly). Only 12% of respondents would accept a Covid-19 vaccine, 41% were undecided and 47% were strongly hesitant. Independent predictors of strong vaccine hesitancy included believing natural infection to be better than vaccination for developing immunity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 4.28; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.23–14.86), agreement that prior infection provides a path toward resuming communal life (aOR 4.10; 95% CI 1.22–13.77), and pandemic-related loss of trust in physicians (aOR 5.01; 95% CI 1.05–23.96). The primary disseminators of health information for self-protective religious communities should be stakeholders who understand these groups' unique health needs. In communities with significant Covid-19 experience, vaccination messaging may need to be tailored toward protecting infection-naïve individuals and boosting natural immunity against emerging variants.

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