COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and racial discrimination among US adults

Elsevier, Preventive Medicine Reports, Volume 31, February 2023
Willis D.E., Montgomery B.E.E., Selig J.P., Andersen J.A., Shah S.K., Li J. et al.

Vaccination is a critical preventive measure to reduce COVID-19 health risks. We utilize full information maximum likelihood (FIML) logistic regression to analyze COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in a national sample of United States (US) adults (N = 2,022). Online survey data was collected between September 7th and October 3rd, 2021. Before weighting, the racial composition of the sample was as follows: Asian American (15.0 %), Black/African American (20.0 %), Hispanic/Latino (20.0 %), American Indian or Alaska Native (12.6 %), Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (12.5 %), and White (20.0 %). Informed by the Increasing Vaccination Model (IVM), we assessed the relationship between COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and experiences of racial discrimination (Krieger's 9-item measure). Odds of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy were greater for most younger age groups, women (OR = 1.96; 95 % CI[1.54, 2.49]), Black/African American respondents (OR = 1.68; 95 % CI[1.18, 2.39]), those with a high school education or less (OR = 1.46; 95 % CI[1.08, 1.98]), Independent (OR = 1.77; 95 % CI[1.34, 2.35]) or Republican political affiliation (OR = 2.69; 95 % CI[1.92, 3.79]), and prior COVID-19 infection (OR = 1.78; 95 % CI[1.29, 2.45]). Odds of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy were 1.04 greater for every-one unit increase in lifetime experiences of racial discrimination (95 % CI[1.02, 1.05]). Odds of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy were lower for Asian American respondents (OR = 0.682; 95 % CI[0.480, 0.969]), and those who had a primary care doctor had reduced odds of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy (OR = 0.735; 95 % CI[0.542, 0.998). Our primary finding provides support for a link between experiences of racial discrimination and hesitancy towards a COVID-19 vaccine among US adults. We discuss implications for public health officials and future research.