Vaccination Rates Aren’t Keeping Up: Harnessing the Power of Community to Combat COVID-19 & Misinformation


Posted: December 20, 2023 | Word Count: 918

Sponsored by Novavax, Inc.

It’s been more than three years since the beginning of the pandemic, yet COVID-19 is far from over and hospitalizations continue to be reported, as of October 2023, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[1]

Unfortunately, the impact and burden of disease has disproportionately affected Hispanic/Latino communities[2] — including Hispanic communities being disproportionately represented in COVID-19 infection and death rates.[3] Despite this higher risk of COVID-19, Hispanic Americans reported greater hesitancy and resistance toward the COVID-19 vaccine especially in the early pandemic.[4]

“Vaccine mistrust and misinformation[5],[6] has hit our communities much more significantly than previously understood, affecting vaccine uptake[4] and risking a devastating impact on individuals’ and their families’ health,” explained Jose Torradas, MD, Emergency Medicine Physician and Co-Founder of Medicos Unidos, Inc. and paid spokesperson for Novavax.

Added Dr. Torradas, “We must stay vigilant against COVID-19 by encouraging everyone who is eligible to consider receiving an updated COVID-19 vaccine as well as stopping the spread of misinformation by helping connect individuals with trusted healthcare information and providers if they have vaccine questions or concerns.”

Understanding the Risks of COVID-19 & Protecting Yourself

Everyone can take action to put their best foot forward heading into this fall and winter season by getting vaccinated to help protect themselves and their loved ones — yet a recent poll conducted in September 2023 found that only 54% of Hispanic adults currently plan to get the new COVID-19 vaccine.[7]

It’s important that all individuals stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination[8] — and the time to consider vaccination is now, with updated vaccines arriving in pharmacies and doctors’ offices. These updated COVID-19 vaccine options have been developed to help protect against subvariants of the COVID-19 virus.[9]

According to the CDC, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for severe COVID-19 illness, as well as individuals who are immunocompromised and those with underlying medical conditions.[9],[10]

“Collaboration and engagement at the community level are critical to empowering individuals and families with the necessary information to take control of their health, and the greatest need is often most concentrated in communities of color[11] and requires tailored, culturally relevant efforts to reach out and encourage vaccination,” said Silvia Taylor, EVP, Chief Corporate Affairs and Advocacy Officer at Novavax, a global leader in vaccine development and research that is working to make safe and effective vaccines available to help protect those who need them around the world.

Taking Action: Equitable Access to Vaccines & Trusted Information

Perhaps one of the most inescapable learnings of the past three years is the reality that everyone is in this together.

“As the nation continues to battle the pandemic, we advocate for all in the Hispanic and Latino communities to have easy and effective access to the COVID-19 vaccines and the facts,” explained Dr. Torradas.

What You Can Do

“It's important to get the facts and know your risks,” emphasized Taylor. “If you have questions, speak with your doctor or pharmacist about your options, because protecting one of us can help protect all of us.”

For more information about the science making these vaccines possible, visit Novavax’s ChoosetoProtect.com.

To learn more about the latest authorized COVID-19 vaccine options and find a vaccination site near you, visit vaccines.gov.



[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID Data Tracker. Available at: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home. Accessed September 22, 2023.

[2] KFF. COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, Vaccinations, and Treatments by Race/Ethnicity as of Fall 2022. Available at: https://www.kff.org/racial-equity-and-health-policy/issue-brief/covid-19-cases-and-deaths-vaccinations-and-treatments-by-race-ethnicity-as-of-fall-2022/. Accessed September 25, 2023.

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reaching the Hispanic Community About COVID-19 Through Existing Chronic Disease Prevention Programs. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2020/20_0165.htm#:~:text=For%20example%2C%20CDC%27s%20weighted%20population,total%20US%20population%20(7). Accessed November 1, 2023.

[4] Na L, Banks S, Wang PP. Racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 vaccine uptake: A mediation framework. Vaccine. 2023;41(14):2404-2411. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.02.079.

[5] Brookings Institute. Skepticism and mistrust challenge COVID vaccine uptake for Latinos. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/articles/skepticism-and-mistrust-challenge-covid-vaccine-uptake-for-latinos/. Accessed October 5, 2023.

[6] KFF. Addressing Misinformation Among Hispanic Adults: Snapshot from the KFF Health Misinformation Tracking Poll Pilot. Available at: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/poll-finding/addressing-misinformation-among-hispanic-adults-snapshot-from-the-kff-health-misinformation-tracking-poll-pilot/. Accessed October 11, 2023.

[8] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html. Accessed September 18, 2023.

[9] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations are Now Available. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/respiratory-viruses/whats-new/covid-vaccine-recommendations-9-12-2023.html. Accessed September 21, 2023.

[10] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People Who Are Immunocompromised. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-who-are-immunocompromised.html. Accessed October 11, 2023.

[11] Jason K., Wilson M., Catoe J., et al. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Black and Hispanic Americans’ Work Outcomes: a Scoping Review. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2023 Apr 28 : 1–16. doi: 10.1007/s40615-023-01594-6.

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