Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



J Racial Ethn Health Disparities




COVID-19; Communities of color; DC; Vaccine equity; Washington


BACKGROUND: Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We explored barriers and facilitators to COVID-19 vaccine uptake among African American, Latinx, and African immigrant communities in Washington, DC.

METHODS: A total of 76 individuals participated in qualitative interviews and focus groups, and 208 individuals from communities of color participated in an online crowdsourcing contest.

RESULTS: Findings documented a lack of sufficient, accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines and questions about the science. African American and African immigrant participants spoke about the deeply rooted historical underpinnings to their community's vaccine hesitancy, citing the prior and ongoing mistreatment of people of color by the medical community. Latinx and African immigrant participants highlighted how limited accessibility played an important role in the slow uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in their communities. Connectedness and solidarity found were found to be key assets that can be drawn upon through community-driven responses to address social-structural challenges to COVID-19 related vaccine uptake.

CONCLUSIONS: The historic and ongoing socio-economic context and realities of communities of color must be understood and respected to inform community-based health communication messaging to support vaccine equity for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.


© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2022

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


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