Disparities in willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine and attitudes towards vaccination among diverse young adults

Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

American Public Health Association 2021 Annual Meeting and Expo

Conference Location

Denver, CO and Virtual


Background: Long-existing inequities in social determinants of health have affected attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine and willingness to take the vaccine.
Methods: San José State University is an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander- and Hispanic-Serving Institution. Undergraduate students conducted a survey in October 2020 to assess willingness to take a COVID-19 vaccine and sources diverse young adults trust to provide accurate information about the vaccine (n=402). We used regression analyses to assess differences by race, ethnicity, and other social categories in the differences of these variables.
Results: We observed differences by race and ethnicity in sources participants trusted to provide accurate information about the vaccine. Chinese participants reported more trust in doctors, Vietnamese reported more trust in local public health officials and news media, and Black, Latinx, and Multiracial participants reported less trust in all sources compared to Asian and White participants. Women reported less trust in all sources, but we detected no significant differences by sexual orientation or nativity. Disparities in willingness were observed by race and ethnicity: 92.3% of Black, 43.8% of Latinx, 62.4% of Multiracial, 35.5% of White, 32.1% of Asian participants were unwilling to vaccinate.
Conclusion: One of the most pressing human rights issues of our time is the equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, both in the U.S. and globally. Socially structured distrust in the vaccine is itself a human rights issue and public health has a critical role to play in redressing this patterned harm and achieving the human right to health for all.


Public Health and Recreation