How to overcome COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Black patients

December 30, 2020

"This was a structural, deliberate program and an institutional initiative—so any interventions at this point need to demonstrate that same intention and fidelity to structural change," said Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD, a professor of medicine and social medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and director of the UNC Center for Health Equity Research.

Dr. Corbie-Smith made her remarks during "Trustworthiness & Vaccines," a recent episode in the AMA "Prioritizing Equity" video series, in which a panel of experts discussed vaccine hesitancy and what can be done about it.

While about 60% of Americans say they will definitely or probably get a COVID-19 vaccine, only about 42% of Blacks would do so—compared to 83% of Asian, 63% of Latinx and 61% of white adults, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Nov. 18-29.

In "Distrust, Race and Research," a landmark 2002 JAMA Internal Medicine study that has been referenced in more than 600 other studies, Dr. Corbie-Smith and colleagues found that, compared with white Americans, African Americans were more likely to believe that physicians would ask them to participate in harmful research, expose them to unnecessary risks, not fully explain the research, or treat them as part of an experiment without their consent.