COVID-19 vaccine perceptions in New York State's intellectual and developmental disabilities community

Suzannah Iadarola, Joanne F. Siegel, Qi Gao, Kathleen McGrath, Karen A. Bonuck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are at disproportionate risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes, particularly those living in congregate care settings. Yet, there is limited data on vaccine perceptions in the disability community. Objective: To explore COVID-19 vaccine perceptions in individuals with IDD, their family members, and those who work with them, to inform a statewide vaccine information and messaging project. Methods: A national survey, adapted in five languages for the IDD community, was distributed to a convenience sample of IDD organizations throughout New York State. Constructs included vaccine intention, reasons for vaccine hesitancy, and trusted sources of vaccine information. Zip code data were used to map respondent location and vaccine preferences. Results: Of n = 825 respondents, approximately 75% intended to or had received the vaccine across roles (i.e., people with developmental disabilities, family members, direct care workers) and racial/ethnic groups. Greater vaccine hesitancy was reported in younger individuals and those making decisions on behalf of a person with IDD. Concerns included side effects and the swiftness of vaccine development. Black and Hispanic participants had heightened concerns about being an “experiment” for the vaccine. Trusted sources of information included healthcare providers and family members. Respondents who intended to/received the vaccine were dispersed throughout the state. Conclusions: Vaccine preferences in this New York State disability community sample align with national data. Identified concerns suggest the need for community education that addresses misperceptions. Age and race differences in perspectives highlight the need for tailored education, delivered by trusted messengers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101178
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Developmental disability
  • Intellectual disability
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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