Targeting covid-19 vaccine hesitancy in minority populations in the us: Implications for herd immunity

James E.K. Hildreth, Donald J. Alcendor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There has been a continuous underrepresentation of minorities in healthcare research and vaccine trials, along with long-standing systemic racism and discrimination that have been fueling the distrust of the healthcare system among these communities for decades. The history and legacy of racial injustices and negative experiences within a culturally insensitive healthcare system have greatly contributed to vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minorities. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy will impact vaccine uptake in the US, subsequently hindering the establishment of herd immunity (75–85% of the population vaccinated) to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission. Information targeting underserved racial/ethnic minorities in the US in a culturally competent manner has been lacking. This information is crucial for educating these communities about COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution as well as dispelling misinformation regarding vaccine trials, safety, and efficacy. This lack of education has greatly contributed to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and will increase disparities in vaccine uptake. Moreover, timely vaccinations are also essential to curtailing virus transmission and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that may evade the immune response produced by the three existing COVID-19 vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number489
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Health disparities
  • Health inequities
  • Minorities populations
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine hesitancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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