What is it about?

We examine whether acknowledgement that racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19 are caused by racism in a news article might increase willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 among African-Americans. Conversely, we examine whether this same messaging decreases willingness to vaccinate among whites.

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Why is it important?

Initial concern about COVID-19 vaccine acceptance centered on reducing hesitancy among African-Americans whose skepticism stems from centuries of medical racism. Later, white conservatives emerged as the most vaccine hesitant group. We believe that it is important to understand whether messaging aimed at increasing trust in public health among marginalized groups is effective, but also whether that same messaging may backfire in other groups.


This paper sought to understand how the public responds to media messages about racial disparities in health. We all consume various types of media everyday, but what effect does it actually on our attitudes and health behaviors? This paper may not offer a definitive answer but can move the conversation forward in important ways.

Ashley Fox
University at Albany State University of New York

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Does highlighting COVID-19 disparities reduce or increase vaccine intentions? evidence from a survey experiment in a diverse sample in New York State prior to vaccine roll-out, PLoS ONE, December 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0277043.
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