Story at a glance

  • Skepticism of COVID-19 vaccines has been more prevalent among those in the Black community, but recent polling shows that may be waning.
  • A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research late last month found 24 percent of Black Americans said they will probably or definitely not get vaccinated, a decline from the 41 percent who made the same claim in January.
  • Meanwhile, a poll released last month from the Kaiser Family Foundation found enthusiasm for getting the COVID-19 vaccine has grown among all Americans, with the largest increase occurring among Black adults.

As the U.S. continues to vaccinate as many Americans as possible to get a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic, recent polling suggests vaccine hesitancy may be falling among Black Americans. 

Skepticism of COVID-19 vaccines has been more prevalent among those in the Black community, partly due to a distrust of the federal government and the nation’s history of racism in medical research. One example is the infamous study in Tuskegee, Ala., where the government allowed hundreds of Black men to suffer untreated syphilis for decades for research. 


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But recent polling shows that hesitancy may be waning. 

A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research late last month found 24 percent of Black Americans said they will probably or definitely not get vaccinated, a decline from the 41 percent who made the same claim in January. 

That’s compared to the 26 percent of white Americans and 22 percent of Hispanic Americans who said they probably or definitely will not be vaccinated. 

Meanwhile, a poll released last month from the Kaiser Family Foundation found enthusiasm for getting the COVID-19 vaccine has grown among all Americans, with the largest increase occurring among Black adults. 

The poll found 55 percent of Black Americans said they have received at least one dose of the vaccine or will get the jab as soon as possible. That’s up from 41 percent in February. The survey shows about 24 percent of Black adults say they plan to wait to get the vaccine until more people have taken it, compared with 16 percent of White adults. Those numbers are better than they were prior to the roll out of vaccines and are continually improving. 

Some have credited campaigns aimed at Black communities to quell concerns about the vaccine as reason why confidence in the critical shot has grown. Millions of dollars in assistance has been provided from the federal government to get the word out in underserved communities about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. 

Dominic Mack, a doctor professor of family medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine and the director of the National Center for Primary Care, told NBC News public service announcements promoting the vaccine have worked. 

“The campaign has been effective, whether it’s President Obama encouraging the Black community to take the shot or local influencers,” he told the outlet. “A mother and a father see the pleas and pass it along to their family, and then it’s passed on and on.”


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Published on Apr 13, 2021