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OSU study finds Black Americans became less hesitant about COVID vaccines than whites

A volunteer receives an injection in Soweto, Johannesburg, as part of Africa's first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial developed at the University of Oxford on June 24, 2020.
Siphiwe Sibeko
Pool via AP

A new Ohio State University study found that Black Americans who were at first hesitant about COVID-19 vaccinations changed their minds after learning more information.

"Black Americans just saw a much quicker drop in their hesitancy, and over those months when the vaccines were first becoming available and we were doing a lot of public education, they became more and more willing and told us their intention of getting vaccinated as soon as they could," said Tasleem Padamsee, assistant professor in the Division of Health Services Management and Policy within OSU's College of Public Health.

Padamsee said the study surveyed 1,200 black and white Americans of all socio-economic backgrounds.

"Back in December of 2020, we found that 38% of Black Americans and 28% of whites were hesitant to use COVID-19 vaccines, and then by several months later at the end of our study, those numbers had changed dramatically," said Padamsee.

In June 2021, seven months after the study began, researchers found that only 26% of Black Americans were still hesitant, a drop of 12%. The white hesitancy dropped by only 1%, to 27%.

Padmansee adds that relieving barriers to vaccinations, such as adding more convenient vaccine sites and helping workers take off to receive the vaccine, can improve vaccination rates.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.