Policy Area
Publication Type
Issue Brief

The COVID-19 pandemic reignited Black Americans’ distrust of public health officials through high levels of vaccine hesitancy. The distrust towards public health officials and healthcare providers by the Black community in the United States continues to raise great concern both for public health and economic growth. Research shows that 70% of the Black community believe Black people are usually treated based on their race or ethnicity when they seek and access medical assistance to meet their basic health needs (1). This level of distrust emerged from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study scandal in 1932, when Black men were manipulated into receiving treatment for syphilis, leading to many of them losing their lives (2). Furthermore, the increasingly concerning rate of Black women dying in the maternity wards, among other circumstances where these underrepresented communities are treated in doctor’s offices and hospital rooms have further contributed to this lack of trust and increased level of vaccine hesitancy (3).

This issue brief seeks to dismantle the high rate of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the Black community and provide strategies to assist public health professionals, clinicians, and other healthcare providers to avoid common pitfalls in caring for Black individuals and reduce vaccine distrust. This information can be used to enhance or develop innovative and culturally competent strategies aimed at reducing the COVID-19 vaccination disparity gap in the Black community and advance health equity.


Aikins, N.A., & Simelus, S. (October, 2022).  Strategies to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the Black Community and Promote Health Equity (Issue Brief).  University of Missouri, Columbia:  Institute of Public Policy.   


AUTHOR: Nana Adjoa Aikins, Graduate Research Assistant, Truman School of Government and Public Affairs, Institute of Public Policy (IPP) 

Written in collaboration with Dr. Sonita Simelus, Assistant Teaching Professor, School of Health Professions, Department of Public Health. Reviewed by Professor Lynelle Phillips, Education Director for Public Health, MU Extension.