COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Adult Emergency Department Patients

How to Cite

Hobbs, C., & Patel, M. (2022). COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Adult Emergency Department Patients. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, 12(1), 39-48.



Vaccine hesitancy is a nationally resonant issue that must be evaluated to address the spread and overwhelming complications of COVID-19 in the United States. Emergency departments (EDs) often serve disadvantaged populations who may experience disproportionate pandemic complications. We sought to gain an updated understanding of vaccine hesitancy levels in a single ED, especially following wide-scale distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and during the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant.


We surveyed a convenience sample of non-COVID positive ED patients at an urban level 1 trauma center to measure patients’ vaccine rates for COVID-19 and influenza. We obtained demographics and perspectives by interview on reasons why COVID-19 vaccination was or was not obtained utilizing previously published instruments.


Among 100 patients enrolled, 78% were vaccinated against COVID-19 and 22% were unvaccinated. The sample of participants was majority white, middle-aged, educated beyond high school, and medically-insured. Vaccine hesitancy was not significantly linked to any demographic groups, other than a slightly significant relationship with those with lower education levels and those who identified as white. Of the unvaccinated participants, the most frequent reason for refusing the vaccine was concern about the side effects or safety.


Our data suggests vaccine hesitancy persists in about 1 out of 5 emergency department patients. Education on COVID-19 vaccine safety may improve uptake.
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