Racial/ethnic and nativity disparities in U.S. Covid-19 vaccination hesitancy during vaccine rollout and factors that explain them

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Abstract

While research has begun to investigate disparities in Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy between White, Black and Hispanic adults, no nationally representative studies to date have accounted for Hispanic immigrants as a unique group or fully investigated the reasons behind racial/ethnic and nativity disparities. We make these contributions by substantively drawing from what is known about the ways that immigrant fear and structural racism create conditions that produce countervailing forces that are likely to contribute to racial/ethnic and nativity disparities in vaccine hesitancy. We use OLS regression and decomposition techniques to analyze data from 1936 18–65 year-old United States (U.S.) adults who participated in the COVID-19 and its Implications for American Communities (CIAC) study during February and March 2021, a period of time that coincides with early stages of the U.S. vaccine roll-out effort that pre-dated universal adult eligibility for Covid-19 vaccination. Results indicate that U.S.-born Black adults are more vaccine hesitant than U.S.-born White adults. This disparity is largely due to differences in anti-vaccine beliefs. U.S.-born Hispanic adults are less vaccine hesitant than U.S.-born White adults in adjusted OLS regression models and personal experiences with Covid-19 drive this difference. There were not significant differences between foreign-born Hispanic and U.S.-born White adults in vaccine hesitancy. These findings suggest that foreign-born Hispanic adults did not drive early disparities in vaccine hesitancy and that alleviating concerns about anti-vaccine beliefs and utilizing personal stories have important roles in preventing future racial/ethnic disparities in Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy as new Covid-19 vaccines and booster shots are rolled out. Study findings may also have implications for reducing racial/ethnic disparities in the uptake of other new vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115183
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume307
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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