Age Influences Covid-19 Vaccine Reluctance Among African Americans


Black adults under 40 are the group most likely to say they will “definitely not” get the Covid-19 vaccine, more than double the response rate of white and Hispanic respondents who are the same age, according to data from a National survey published every two weeks by the United States Census Bureau.

Among unvaccinated Hispanics and whites, 11% under the age of 40 said they will definitely not get the vaccine, compared to 24% of unvaccinated young black adults. The survey of 80,000 people, conducted between January 20 and February 1, measures national responses from different demographic groups in a rapid response period to show how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the daily lives of Americans.

The age of the respondents played the most important factor in willingness to get vaccinated. Those 65 and older were more likely to indicate they would get the vaccine, and 63% of black respondents and 65% of Hispanics said they would “definitely” get vaccinated, down from three-quarters of white respondents.

Willingness to receive a Covid-19 vaccine among unvaccinated adults, by age and race, ethnicity

In general, more black adults are willing to get vaccinated, compared to the results of the previous weeks. In the latest survey, 70% of black adults who have not received the vaccine said they would definitely or likely receive it, an increase of 7 percentage points from the survey conducted the week of January 6.

Black, Hispanic, and Native American populations are dying from Covid-19 at a rate nearly three times that of white Americans. These deaths are younger among minorities, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of death certificate data collected by federal authorities. Public health experts say they expected minorities to be particularly affected, even at younger ages, due to risk factors including unequal access to care, as well as potential employment in low-wage jobs that require outside work. of home.

Minority and underserved communities have populations that are traditionally wary of government and medical treatments and generally have less access to things like easy transportation to vaccination centers or the digital technology needed to book appointments. Respondents under the age of 40 were the most likely to cite a concern about side effects as their reason for being reluctant to get the vaccine. A third of unvaccinated young black adults expressed distrust of the Covid-19 vaccine, compared to 23% of whites of the same age.

Top reasons for vaccine reluctance by age and race, ethnicity

Worried about side effectss

Don’t Trust Covid-19 Vaccines

Other people need it more

Wait and see if it’s safe

Worried about side effectss

Don’t Trust Covid-19 Vaccines

Other people need it more

Wait and see if it’s safe

Worried about side effectss

Don’t Trust Covid-19 Vaccines

Wait and see if it’s safe

Other people need it more

Worried about side effectss

Worried about side effectss

Don’t Trust Covid-19 Vaccines

Other people need it more

Wait and see if it’s safe

Black and white Americans trust doctors and nurses the most for vaccine information. But their confidence levels in various forms of media differ. Black people are more likely to rely on social media for vaccine information, with 55% of black respondents saying yes, according to a recent Harris poll. That compares with 32% of white respondents. But social media can be riddled with misinformation.

“There are a lot of people, particularly in the black community, who are looking for other people they know or trust in their community,” said Harris Poll Managing Director Rob Jekielek. “Many of the people with whom they are connected have the same apprehensions and share content that reinforces their own fears.”

Followers of anti-vaccine social media accounts have risen 20% since 2019, according to a report by the Center for Counter Digital Hate, a nonprofit that tracks the spread of misinformation online. The organization has tracked nearly 58 million vaccine accounts and found that they are the most prevalent on Facebook.

As highly communicable coronavirus variants spread across the world, scientists are racing to understand why these new versions of the virus are spreading faster and what this could mean for vaccination efforts. New research says the key could be the spike protein, which gives the coronavirus its unmistakable shape. Illustration: Nick Collingwood / WSJ

However, Jekielek said the anti-vaccine movement doesn’t concern him as much as other social media activities. Posts or memes that are less dire and that question how a vaccine could be developed so quickly contribute more broadly to the reluctance to inoculation found in swaths of the population, he said. One of the biggest barriers to convincing some minority groups not to delay is the lack of access to preventive health care that builds trust in the medical system, he said.

“I’m less worried about the antivax, the crowd with no chances from a public health perspective,” Jekielek said. “I’m much more concerned about the next 25%, a large chunk of African-Americans who are delaying vaccination, which means it will take longer to reach the goal of 80% of the population. group immunity. “

Write to Maureen Linke at [email protected] and Luis Melgar at [email protected]

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