According to a Texas A&M University School of Public Health survey, 31% of the 5000 respondents said they did not intend to pursue vaccination. The respondents answered questions that assessed their attitudes and behaviors towards the COVID-19 vaccine. The survey’s questions sought to find answers to why or why the respondents did not choose or get vaccinated.
The survey findings showed that 71% of women had no intention of pursuing the COVID-19 vaccine. Black respondents followed closely, with 41% of them wishing not to get vaccinated. The survey laid bare the two significant reasons that promoted vaccine hesitancy. Respondents had concerns over the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. The second reason was more familiar with black respondents. Their vaccine hesitancy stemmed from safety and effectiveness concerns and a lack of financial resources or health insurance.
The survey’s author, assistant professor Timothy Callaghan, found the results surprising, especially for the African American respondents who were more likely to die from COVID, the lack of funds notwithstanding. According to WebMD, Black, Hispanic and Native Americans are times more likely to be hospitalized and are three times more likely to die from COVID-19.
Current data shows that white Americans are being vaccinated at a rate three times higher than Black Americans. According to a CDC report published earlier this year, White Americans that received at least the first COVID-19 vaccine was 60%, whereas African Americans accounted for just 5.4%.
Despite some experts stating that vaccine distrust might be to blame for the low vaccination rate in the black community, others feel that other factors are at play. “The experience of Black Americans within the U.S. health care system has been extremely troubled to say the least,” said Sean Dickson, the director of health policy at the West Health Policy Center.
A recent NPR analysis found that there were far less vaccination hubs in predominantly Black and Hispanic communities in the states of Louisiana, Texas, and Alabama. Additionally, a National study done in conjunction with the University of Pittsburg found that Black Americans in almost two dozen counties in Atlanta, Dallas, and New Orleans had to drive longer to vaccine centers than White Americans. Another critical factor is that vaccine registration is done online. Black Americans with reliable internet connections are sparse.
There are a lot of factors that are influencing the low vaccination rate in Black communities. Vaccine mistrust may exist, but it fails to account for the large vaccination gap between white Americans and black Americans. With the black community heavily affected by COVID-19, it is scary to consider what would happen with the current low vaccination rates and the new COVID-19 variants.