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Vaccine Hesitancy Is High Among Black Americans
Evidence suggests that COVID-19 vaccines are extremely safe and effective. But Black Americans have high levels of hesitancy concerning immunization. For people who have long faced discrimination, medical mistrust is a rational “survival mechanism,” says RAND's Laura Bogart. But lower vaccination rates among Black Americans would only exacerbate the damaging racial inequities of the pandemic.
To better understand how to address this challenge, Bogart and her colleagues surveyed a nationally representative sample of 207 Black Americans. Here's what they found:
· More than one-third of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine. An additional 25 percent said they “don't know” if they would get vaccinated.
· Health care workers showed higher vaccine hesitancy than those in other fields, with 48 percent indicating that they would not get vaccinated.
· Key drivers of vaccine hesitancy appear to be mistrust of the government's motives and transparency around COVID-19, as well as beliefs about racism in health care.
· Respondents reported higher trust in COVID-19 information that comes from health care providers and public health officials than from elected officials.
The researchers stress that it's important to address people's specific concerns. For instance, messaging about COVID-19 vaccines should first acknowledge systemic racism as a justifiable reason for mistrust, and then provide accurate information about the vaccines, including details about efficacy and safety. Read more »
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