People with disabilities less vaccine hesitant, but face more access barriers, CDC report finds

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Although people with disabilities are less likely to report vaccine hesitancy, COVID-19 vaccination coverage is lower among this population compared to those without a disability, according to the CDC's Oct. 1 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Researchers conducted a national telephone survey between May 30 and June 26, 2021. Among 56,749 respondents, 9.4 percent had a disability that affected their vision, hearing, walking, memory, decision-making or communication. The final response rate was 18.9 percent. 

Those with a disability were nearly twice as likely to say they would definitely get vaccinated relative to people without a disability. Still, this group was less likely to have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. 

For each age group analyzed, those with a disability were less likely to be vaccinated. Among adults aged 50 to 64, for example, about 63 percent of those with a disability were vaccinated, compared to about 72 percent of people without one. 

Overall, people with a disability were more likely to say that it would be or was somewhat difficult to get vaccinated. This finding was more prevalent among unvaccinated adults, researchers said. 

Among unvaccinated adults, those who had a disability were more likely to report vaccine access-related difficulties, such as getting an appointment online or getting to a vaccination site.  

The report noted that accessibility options may range across vaccine sites, adding that current regulations do not require sites to have American Sign Language interpreters or providers trained to care for people with disabilities. 


"Reducing barriers to vaccine scheduling and making vaccination sites more accessible might improve vaccination rates among persons with disabilities," researchers said.

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