Date of Conferral


Date of Award

February 2024




Public Health


JaMuir Robinson


In the United States, nearly 104 million cases and over 1.1 million deaths from novel coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) have been reported overall, but African Americans have been disproportionately affected. Nevertheless, this population has demonstrated the lowest intention to be vaccinated and lowest vaccination rates of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. The research problem addressed by this study is African American COVID-19 health disparities. The purpose of this investigation was to examine factors that influence COVID-19 vaccination behavior among African Americans, which is important to better understand how to achieve health equity. Using the health belief model and theory of planned behavior as the theoretical framework, this quantitative, cross-sectional, correlational study was conducted to examine the role that experiences of racism and concern about the disease play in whether and when African Americans decide to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Primary data were collected from 188 self-identified non-Hispanic African American adults via an online survey and were analyzed with logistic regression. No association between race-related stress, medical mistrust, COVID-19 worry, and vaccine hesitancy was found. Study results suggested the negative impact of experiences of racism and medical mistrust on African American COVID-19 vaccine uptake might be overcome by educational interventions. Culturally tailored public health programs should target not just race specific populations but differentiated within-race subgroups. Using these more refined approaches would lead to positive social change by promoting COVID-19 vaccine uptake among African Americans.

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Public Health Commons