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COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among US Adults With Vision or Hearing Disabilities

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME
Key Points

Question  What is the prevalence of COVID-19 vaccination among US adults with vision or hearing disabilities?

Findings  In this cross-sectional study of 916 085 participants, adults with blindness were less likely to initiate COVID-19 vaccination compared with adults with little to no vision impairment. Adults with deafness were also less likely to initiate the COVID-19 vaccination compared with adults with little to no hearing impairment.

Meaning  The findings suggest that, compared with adults without vision or hearing impairment, COVID-19 vaccination rates were lower among adults with vision or hearing disabilities, and additional research may be needed to monitor COVID-19 vaccination disparities among this population.

Abstract

Importance  Despite persistent care delivery inequities, limited studies have assessed COVID-19 vaccination rates among adults with vision or hearing disabilities.

Objective  To estimate the prevalence of and factors in COVID-19 vaccination among US adults with vision or hearing disabilities.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This cross-sectional study assessed data from adults who participated in the US Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey from April 2021 through March 2022. The survey assessed COVID-19 vaccine initiation, vaccine series completion, and determinants of health care access, including demographic characteristics, clinical characteristics, and social determinants of health.

Exposures  Vision disability (serious difficulty seeing even with eyeglasses or blindness) and hearing disability (serious difficulty hearing even with a hearing aid or deafness).

Main Outcomes and Measures  First dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Adjusted estimated probabilities and 95% CIs of COVID-19 vaccine initiation were calculated using multivariable logistic regression adjusted for survey week, demographic characteristics, clinical characteristics, and social determinants of health.

Results  In this study of 916 085 US adults (weighted population, 192 719 992; mean [SD] age, 54.0 [15.9] years; 52.0% women), most participants had initiated the COVID-19 vaccine series (82.7%). Adults with serious difficulty seeing (mean difference, −6.3%; 95% CI, −7.5% to −5.1%; P < .001) and blindness (mean difference, −20.1%; 95% CI, −25.1% to −15.0%; P < .001) had lower vaccination rates compared with adults with little to no vision impairment. Adults with serious difficulty hearing (mean difference, −2.1%; 95% CI, −3.5% to −0.7%; P = .003) and deafness (mean difference, −17.7%; 95% CI, −21.8% to −13.6%; P < .001) were less likely to initiate the COVID-19 vaccine compared with adults with little to no hearing impairment. Controlling for other factors, adults with blindness (mean difference, −6.3%; 95% CI, −11.1% to −1.5%; P = .009) were less likely to initiate the COVID-19 vaccine compared with adults with little to no vision impairment. Controlling for other factors, adults with deafness (mean difference, −5.5%; 95% CI, −9.2% to −1.9%; P = .003) were less likely to initiate the COVID-19 vaccine compared with adults with little to no hearing impairment.

Conclusion and Relevance  The findings of this cross-sectional study suggest that COVID-19 vaccine initiation is lower among adults with vision or hearing disabilities compared with adults without disabilities; this information may inform initiatives to promote equitable and accessible vaccination. Additional research may be needed to monitor COVID-19 vaccination disparities among adults with vision or hearing disabilities and to address disparities.

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Accepted for Publication: June 16, 2022.

Published Online: August 11, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2022.3041

Corresponding Author: Kea Turner, PhD, MPH, MA, Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 USF Magnolia Dr, MRC-CANCONT, Tampa, FL 33612-9416 (kea.turner@moffitt.org).

Author Contributions: Dr Turner had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Turner, Alishahi Tabriz, Islam, Hong.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Turner, Nguyen, Islam, Hong.

Drafting of the manuscript: Turner, Islam.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Turner.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Alishahi Tabriz.

Supervision: Alishahi Tabriz.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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