Physician focus group discussions revealed low expectations for COVID-19 vaccine trial participation in diverse communities by most participants, with a lack of trust in the pharmaceutical industry again highlighted as a key barrier, in addition to an ongoing stigma around infectious diseases. However, 45% of quantitative research respondents from non-white communities globally stated that they would consider joining a COVID-19 trial, with many attributing this willingness to a desire to help others. Interestingly, a slightly lower proportion of white respondents (39%) expressed a willingness to join a COVID-19 trial.

WILLINGNESS TO JOIN A COVID-19 TRIAL

%45

NON-WHITE
RESPONDENTS

%39

WHITE
RESPONDENTS

I wouldn’t mind joining a COVID-19 trial because I took the flu vaccine. I think some people are scared to take vaccines because they think it will make them feel ill.
Member of the Public, Interviewee

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Physicians also stated that they expected low COVID-19 vaccine uptake based on trends of low levels of flu vaccination, especially among the Black and African American community. When asked, 60% of non-white respondents expressed openness to a vaccine once it’s available compared to 55% of white participants—although a majority didn’t want to be the first to receive it.



OPENNESS TO RECEIVING A COVID-19 VACCINE

%45

NON-WHITE
RESPONDENTS

%39

WHITE
RESPONDENTS

I would probably use the COVID-19 vaccine if it actually works and there are no side effects. I would be very cautious of it though.
Member of the Public, Interviewee

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70%80%90%60%50%40%30%20%10%0%AustraliaCanadaFranceItalyHungaryPolandSpainUKUSAWillingness to have COVID-19 vaccineBlack, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous [N = 237]White [N = 1,945]


As shown in the table above, there are some countries where there were similar attitudes to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine regardless of race or ethnicity, whereas others, such as the UK and Poland, showed a vast difference between Black, Latinx, Asian or Indigenous respondents’ vs. white respondents’ willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when available (42% vs. 85%, respectively, in the UK and 20% vs. 53%, respectively, in Poland).

Conversely, we see a greater number of non-white respondents in the USA willing to receive a vaccine when available, with comments from respondents citing the seriousness of the pandemic and need to protect themselves from it as primary reasons. Despite this stated willingness, in the USA initial vaccination data indicates that a higher proportion of white citizens have been vaccinated to date than any other community.4 This further highlights the risk of significant access disparity, showing the need to be intentional in supporting accelerated vaccine access to all communities.



  1. Rachael Dottle, Akayla Gardner, Jeff Green, Angelica LaVito, Marie Patino, Andre Tartar, Alexander McIntyre and Aaron Kessler. Bloomberg. Not One U.S. State Has Vaccinated 20% of Its Black Population: Covid-19 Tracker. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/us-vaccine-demographics.html. Accessed 18 February 2021.

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