The number of service members who "initiated a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine" between December 11, 2020 through March 12, 2021, according to a study in the April issue of Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch journal, Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR) -- Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccine Initiation and Completion Among Active Component Service Members and Health Care Personnel, 11 December 2020-12 March 2021. This represents 27.2% of total service members.
Non-Hispanic Blacks were 28% less likely to initiate vaccination (95% confidence interval: 25%-29%) in comparison to non-Hispanic Whites, after adjusting for potential confounders. Increasing age, higher education levels, higher rank, and Asian/Pacific Islander race/ethnicity were also associated with increasing incidence of initiation after adjustment. When the analysis was restricted to active component health care personnel, similar patterns were seen. Overall, 93.8% of those who initiated the vaccine series completed it during the study period, and only minor differences in completion rates were noted among the demographic subgroups. This study suggests additional factors, such as vaccine hesitancy, influence COVID-19 vaccination choices in the U.S. military. Military leadership and vaccine planners should be knowledgeable about and aware of the disparities in vaccine series initiation.