Changes in COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy among Black and White Individuals in the US

Tasleem J. Padamsee*, Robert M. Bond, Graham N. Dixon, Shelly R. Hovick, Kilhoe Na, Erik C. Nisbet, Duane T. Wegener, R. Kelly Garrett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Importance: COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black individuals in the US; however, vaccination rates among Black individuals trail those among other racial groups. This disparity is often attributed to a high level of vaccine hesitancy among Black individuals, but few studies have examined changes in vaccine hesitancy over time. Objectives: To compare changes in vaccine hesitancy between Black and White individuals in the US and to examine mechanisms that might help explain the observed differences. Design, Setting, and Participants: This survey study used 7 waves of data collected using a panel design. A total of 1200 English-speaking adults in the US were recruited from a nonprobability online panel to construct a census-matched sample. Participants were contacted monthly between December 9, 2020, and June 16, 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome of interest was self-reported vaccination intention, measured on a 6-point scale (where 1 indicates extremely unlikely and 6 indicates extremely likely). Beliefs about the safety, effectiveness, and necessity of COVID-19 vaccines were measured on a 5-point Likert scale, with higher scores denoting greater agreement. Results: The baseline data included 1200 participants (693 women [52.0%; weighted]; 921 White individuals [64.0%; weighted], 107 Black individuals [12.2%; weighted]; weighted mean [SD] age, 49.5 [17.6] years). The survey participation rate was 57.0% (1264 of 2218). Black and White individuals had comparable vaccination intentions in December 2020, but Black individuals experienced larger increases in vaccination intention than White individuals relative to baseline in March 2021 (b = 0.666; P <.001), April 2021 (b = 0.890; P <.001), May 2021 (b = 0.695; P <.001), and June 2021 (b = 0.709; P <.001). The belief that the vaccines are necessary for protection also increased more among Black than White individuals in March 2021 (b = 0.221; P =.01) and April 2021 (b = 0.187; P =.04). Beliefs that the vaccines are safe and effective (b = 0.125; P <.001) and necessary (b = 0.405; P <.001) were positively associated with vaccination intention. There was no evidence that these associations varied by race. Conclusions and Relevance: This survey study suggests that the intention of Black individuals to be vaccinated was initially comparable to that of White individuals but increased more rapidly. There is some evidence that this increase is associated with changes in beliefs about the vaccine. Vaccination rates continue to be lower among Black individuals than White individuals, but these results suggest that this might be less likely the result of vaccine hesitancy than other factors..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2144470
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 21 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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