While the COVID vaccination rate for Black Americans still lags white Americans, a new study found that hesitancy among Black individuals is falling at a faster rate (Source: “COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Falling Faster Among Black Americans Than Whites,” HealthDay News via U.S. News, Jan. 24).
According to the study by Ohio State University researchers published in JAMA Network Open, In December 2020, about 38% of Black participants and 28% of white participants expressed hesitancy about the vaccines. By June 2021, those responses had shifted so they were almost even, with 26% of Black participants hesitant compared to 27% of white participants.
Still, by May 2021, the percentage of white individuals who had received at least one dose of vaccine was about 1.5 times the percentage of Black individuals who had received a dose.
If, as the study showed, it's not that Black Americans are more hesitant than white individuals, but they remain less vaccinated, "then we really need to ask ourselves, is it access barriers that are affecting Black Americans more?" said Tasleem Padamsee, lead study author.
Though this study was not focused on the reasons for the lower vaccination rates, it pointed out that various obstacles might keep Black people from getting vaccinated. Potential obstacles could include concern about missing work to get the vaccine or missing it afterward due to side effects, not having transportation to the vaccine site or worrying that there may be a cost for vaccines.