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 for the IDD community, was distributed to a convenience sample of IDD organizations throughout New York State, in five languages . 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 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/got the vaccine were distributed 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.