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Vaccinating Veterans for COVID-19 at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Der-Martirosian C, Steers WN, Northcraft H, Chu K, Dobalian A. Vaccinating Veterans for COVID-19 at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. American journal of preventive medicine. 2022 Jun 1; 62(6):e317-e324.

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INTRODUCTION: With the COVID-19 (most recent) Omicron variant surge across the U.S., more research is needed to better understand how vaccination and booster uptake can be increased. COVID-19 vaccinations have proven to help decrease the likelihood of becoming seriously ill, getting hospitalized, or dying. Studies examining patient characteristics of individuals who received COVID-19 vaccinations are limited. This study examines the patient characteristics of veterans who were vaccinated during the first 8 months (December 2020-July 2021) of the vaccination rollout at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. METHODS: Using the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs administrative and clinical data, bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine sociodemographic and health factors associated with the likelihood of receiving COVID-19 vaccination at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. RESULTS: The analytic sample included 5,914,741 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs users (49.7% vaccinated). Among the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities nationwide, COVID-19 vaccination rates ( = 1 dose) varied from 33.9% to 73.7%. Veterans who were non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan natives, younger, living in rural areas, male, and unmarried; had U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health insurance only; had fewer chronic conditions; did not receive the seasonal influenza vaccine; and were not living in community living centers or nursing homes were less likely to get vaccinated. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding which groups of veterans are less likely to be vaccinated allows the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to develop targeted interventions to improve uptake in these groups. These results can also guide non-U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs organizations to create evidence-based educational outreach programs that reduce vaccine hesitancy among veterans who do not use U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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