| Photo by Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) on Unsplash
NEW YORK – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) with the COVID Collaborative and Hart Research has released a nationwide COVID-19 survey on the diverse Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. The study covered over 1,500 participants, presented disaggregated data for ethnic groups, evaluated vaccination confidence and outcomes, and drew attention to unfolding epidemics of anti-Asian hate and decreased mental health.
In terms of ethnicity, Filipinos ranked third at 18 percent among those surveyed; Chinese topped the list of participants at 23 percent, followed by Indians at 21 percent.
The survey showed progress toward the nation’s 70 percent vaccination goal. However, the findings uncovered disparities between different groups: Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, people without college degrees, and people without health insurance were more likely to say they were not vaccinated and that they had not decided whether they would take that step. In addition, about a quarter of parents voiced doubts about whether they would have their children vaccinated.
Key findings of the survey:
- Within the sample, vaccination rates for Native Hawaiians (63%) and Pacific Islanders (55%) lag behind those of Asian Americans (82%).
- Four out of five community members think that COVID-19 is still a serious problem or that the worst is yet to come, including 84% of Southeast Asians, 79% of South Asians and East Asians, 83% of Native Hawaiians, and 77% of Pacific Islanders.
- Over one-third (37%) reported knowing someone who has died from COVID-19.
- Over one in five (22%) lost a job or wages because of COVID-19.
- The vast majority of AANHPIs (70%) think discrimination against their community has become more common in the United States than it was before COVID-19, with half of them reporting that they or a family member had experienced discrimination since the pandemic began.
- Over one-third of community members said that their mental health had deteriorated since the beginning of the pandemic. This was most pronounced among people aged 18-34, over half of whom (51%) said their mental health was worse.
Findings related to hate crimes and discrimination were particularly dramatic. Almost three-quarters of survey respondents said they think discrimination against their communities had become more common than it was before the coronavirus. Americans of Chinese, Filipino, and Korean descent were especially likely to feel this way. Nearly half of survey respondents said they or an immediate family member had experienced at least one form of discrimination since the pandemic began.
Discrimination has not been the only impact of the pandemic: Over one in five reported that they had lost a job or wages because of it. In addition, over one-third reported that their mental health had deteriorated since the advent of COVID-19, including over half of younger adults.
“The new Delta variant requires everyone, especially those who may not easily have access to quality information, to take another look at vaccination options and talk to their doctors and families about getting vaccinated,” said John Bridgeland, COVID Collaborative Co-Founder & CEO. “It is also clear from this research that we must do more to help AANHPI communities by putting a stop to discrimination and providing mental health support to move our country to recovery.”
“We are proud to be a part of this critical study,” said Juliet K. Choi, APIAHF President, and CEO. “APIAHF has worked with partners throughout the nation to promote vaccination and dispel myths about the coronavirus. While we know that there is still much to do, it is heartening to see that so many are being vaccinated. But our fight is not over yet. We know from working with over 100 community-based organizations in nearly every state and in the territories that many people who are not yet fluent in English continue to struggle to get accurate and timely information and become vaccinated.”
The survey, conducted with English-speaking participants, surveyed 29 Asian ethnic groups of interest.
“We must continue to work together to tackle institutionalized barriers to care and face COVID-19 and its web of related problems to achieve health equity,” said Choi. “New variants of the disease bring new hurdles to overcome, and there is no guarantee that the civil rights and mental health challenges that have risen along with the virus will go away on their own. Ultimately, we need a health care system that works well for everyone, regardless of where you come from, the color of your skin, the language you speak, or any other factor. This crisis gives us new opportunities to shine a spotlight on those bigger goals.”
A summary of the report can be read here.