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In a sample of individuals with substance use disorders, many are hesitant to receive COVID vaccine

Addiction Policy Forum conducted interviews with a small sample of individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) and nearly half reported that they are hesitant to take a COVID-19 vaccine, despite research that indicates people with SUD face more severe outcomes from COVID-19 and a higher risk of contracting the SARS- CoV-2 virus.

The interviews were aimed at understanding experiences of individuals currently using substances, receiving treatment for a substance use disorder, and/or in recovery from a SUD during the pandemic, and attitudes around willingness to take a COVID-19 vaccine. Interviews with 87 participants were conducted between September 14 and September 27, 2020.

Vaccine Readiness

Nearly half of participants reported that they are unwilling to take a vaccine for COVID-19. Among the approximate half that are willing to take the vaccine, most are willing to take it as soon as it becomes available, and a smaller percentage prefers to wait.

Nearly a quarter of respondents reported that requiring multiple doses of a vaccine would have an effect on their decision to get vaccinated. Several responses referenced to injections as potential triggers for individuals in recovery from a SUD: “Yes it would affect my decision- I was an IV drug user and injection is a huge trigger for me.” Read more

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