Results of Pennsylvania LGBTQ COVID-19 Vaccine Survey Released

The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, which partnered with the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation locally and the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College, has released the results of the Pennsylvania LGBTQ COVID-19 Vaccine Survey, which collected new and critical data about vaccine hesitancy and barriers to care among Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ residents with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine.

This was the first state-level LGBTQ COVID-19 vaccine survey in the country and was modeled after a regional survey in Boulder, Colorado that was administered by Out Boulder. A total of 1,545 LGBTQ Pennsylvanians from 56 out of 67 counties and across 413 zip codes were included in the survey findings. The data was collected from March 4 to April 5, 2021.

The data suggest most LGBTQ Pennsylvanians are following public health guidelines about COVID-19.

  • 97.8% of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians often or always wear a mask.
  • 94.9% of LGBTQ Pennsylvanians often or always practice social distancing.

The data also suggest that most LGBTQ Pennsylvanians want to be vaccinated against COVID-19. At the time the survey was administered, 54% of respondents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of those who had not received a dose, 85.3% indicated that they would get a vaccine as soon as it was available to them.

However, barriers to care are limiting LGBTQ Pennsylvanians’ ability to get vaccinated. Of those who had not been vaccinated yet, 40.8% said they do not know where to get the vaccine — and 46% had not contacted anyone about making a vaccine appointment. Black LGBTQ Pennsylvanians are getting vaccinated at a lower rate than the overall LGBTQ population and display more vaccine hesitancy compared to other LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.

For LGBTQ Pennsylvanians who were either undecided or unwilling to get the vaccine, the top three concerns were about vaccine safety (58.7%), prioritizing others’ needs before their own (38%), and vaccine effectiveness (35.9%).

Based on the findings, researchers recommended the following:

  • Vaccines should be offered at LGBTQ-affirming community-based sites.
  • Trusted messenger strategies should be utilized to tailor information to LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.
  • Public health professionals and healthcare providers should partner with LGBTQ community-based organizations to address vaccine hesitancy among Black LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC should prioritize sexual orientation and gender identity data collection for COVID-19 vaccine tracking.

Adrian Shanker, executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and collaborating investigator on the study, said, “There is a clear demonstration of community resiliency through LGBTQ compliance with public health guidances and a desire to be vaccinated, but oftentimes, the barriers to accessing high-quality care can be too great to overcome. These data make it clear that trusted messenger strategies are necessary to ensure a high-vaccination rate among LGBTQ Pennsylvanians.”

“I’m grateful for the community support we received for this project,” said co-investigator Christina Graham Brasavage, MPH, data and evaluation manager at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. “Hearing directly from LGBTQ Pennsylvanians gives us vital insight into what information they need right now as we navigate public health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to Shanker and Graham Brasavage, Dr. Kat Carrick, adjunct professor of social work at Bryn Mawr College and associate director of The George Washington University’s LGBT Health Policy & Practice Graduate Certificate Program, served as the principal investigator, and Dr. Tamarah Moss, assistant professor of social work at Bryn Mawr College, was a co-investigator. The project was approved by IRB at Bryn Mawr College.

Additional organizations partnering on the data collection were William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia; Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation in Pittsburgh; LGBT Center of Central PA in Harrisburg; Alder Health Services in Harrisburg; Rainbow Rose Center in York; LGBT Center of Greater Reading in Reading; and Mosaic Medical Center in Chester.

Read the full results below:


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