Public Health Rep. 2022 Sep 16:333549221123579. doi: 10.1177/00333549221123579. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Minimal research has assessed COVID-19’s unique impact on the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NH/PI) population-an Indigenous-colonized racial group with social and health disparities that increase their risk for COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. To address this gap, we explored the scope of COVID-19 outcomes, vaccination status, and health in diverse NH/PI communities.
METHODS: NH/PI staff at partner organizations collected survey data from April through November 2021 from 319 community-dwelling NH/PI adults in 5 states with large NH/PI populations: Arkansas, California, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, Pearson χ2 tests, independent and paired t tests, and linear and logistic regression analyses.
RESULTS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, 30% of survey participants had contracted COVID-19, 16% had a close family member who died of the disease, and 64% reported COVID-19 vaccine uptake. Thirty percent reported fair/poor health, 21% currently smoked cigarettes, and 58% reported obesity. Survey participants reported heightened COVID-19-related psychosocial distress (mean score = 4.9 on 10-point scale), which was more likely when health outcomes (general health, sleep, obesity) were poor or a family member had died of COVID-19. Logistic regression indicated that age, experiencing COVID-19 distress, and past-year use of influenza vaccines were associated with higher odds of COVID-19 vaccine uptake (1.06, 1.18, and 7.58 times, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Our empirical findings highlight the acute and understudied negative impact of COVID-19 on NH/PI communities in the United States and suggest new avenues for improving NH/PI community health, vaccination, and recovery from COVID-19.