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Vasudevan L, Bruening R, Hung A, Woolson S, Brown A, Hastings SN, Linton T, Embree G, Hostler CJ, Mahanna E, Okeke NL, Bosworth H, Sperber NR. COVID-19 vaccination intention and activation among health care system employees: A mixed methods study. Vaccine. 2022 Aug 19; 40(35):5141-5152.
BACKGROUND: Achieving high COVID-19 vaccination rates among employees is necessary to prevent outbreaks in health care settings. The goal of the study was to produce actionable and timely evidence about factors underlying the intention and decisions to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine by employees. METHODS: The study was conducted from December 2020 - May 2021 with employees from a VA health care system in Southeastern US. The study used a convergent mixed methods design comprising two main activities: a cross-sectional survey conducted prior to COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and semi-structured interviews conducted 4-6 months after vaccine distribution. Data were collected about participant characteristics, vaccination intention prior to distribution, vaccination decision post-distribution, determinants of vaccination intention and decision, activating factors, sources of information and intervention needs. Data from the survey and interviews were analyzed separately and integrated narratively in the discussion. RESULTS: Prior to vaccine distribution, 77% of employees wanted to be vaccinated. Post vaccine distribution, we identified 5 distinct decision-making groups: 1) vaccine believers who actively sought vaccination and included those sometimes described as "immunization advocates", 2) go along to get along (GATGA) individuals who got vaccinated but did not actively seek it, 3) cautious acceptors who got the COVID-19 vaccine after some delay, 4) fence sitters who remained uncertain about getting vaccinated, and 5) vaccine refusers who actively rejected the COVID-19 vaccine. Participants identifying with Black or multiple races were more likely to express hesitancy in their vaccination intention. CONCLUSION: The findings of our study highlight distinct decision-making profiles associated with COVID-19 vaccination among employees of a VA health care system, and provide tailored recommendations to reduce vaccine hesitancy in this population.