UAMS Researchers Find Hispanics and Marshallese More Likely to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine in Church


In a recently published study in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, researchers compared vaccine acceptance across populations both in outpatient clinics and in faith-based organizations such as churches. According to the study, both Hispanics and residents of Marshall, Arkansas were more likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine and were more likely to get vaccinated at faith-based organizations than at outpatient clinics.

“These results show that collaboration between healthcare providers and faith-based institutions can increase vaccination rates among communities that might otherwise falter,” said Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., director of the UAMS Office of Public Health and Research. “This information can help guide public health efforts to help these communities better protect themselves from a variety of diseases, including COVID-19 and the flu.”

The study also found that participants who received their vaccines from a faith-based organization were also more likely to trust the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, despite lower levels of health literacy, than participants in outpatient clinics.

More than 1 million people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). To date, 12,800 Arkansans have died from the virus, according to the Arkansas Department of Health, which also reported that 71.4% of Arkansans who have died from COVID-19 since February 2021 have not been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved bivalent booster injections for Pfizer and Moderna that target new variants of the Omicron coronavirus. The Pfizer booster is approved for children aged 5 and up, while the Moderna booster is approved for children aged 6 and over.

The latest COVID booster is currently offered at all UAMS Health primary care clinics and by the UAMS Office of Public Health and Research at mobile health events across the state. For more information or to view a schedule of upcoming mHealth events, visit

The UAMS Northwest Regional Campus has 329 medical students, pharmacists, nurses and healthcare professionals, 66 medical residents and pharmacists, and two sports medicine fellows. There are nine clinics on campus, including a student clinic, orthopedic and sports medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. The faculty conducts research to reduce health inequalities.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university with colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, health professions, and public health; postgraduate studies; hospital; main campus in Little Rock; the Northwest Arkansas Regional Campus in Fayetteville; a network of regional campuses throughout the state; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stevens Institute of Spine and Neurology, the Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Institute for Psychiatric Research, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute for Aging, the Institute for Translational Research, and the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation. . UAMS includes UAMS Health, the state health care system that covers all of UAMS’ clinical businesses. UAMS is the only adult level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,240 students, 913 residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians, who provide patient care at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Virginia State Medical Center, and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook TwitterYouTube or Instagram.

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