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Data: KFF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Strikingly large shares of Black Americans say they would be reluctant to get a coronavirus vaccine — even if it was free and had been deemed safe by scientists, according to a new nationwide survey from KFF and The Undefeated.

Why it matters: The findings reflect well-founded distrust of government and health care institutions, and they underscore the need for credible outreach efforts when a vaccine is distributed. Otherwise, distribution could fail to effectively reach the Black community, which has been disproportionately affected by coronavirus.

By the numbers: Just 17% of Black American adults say they definitely will get a Covid-19 vaccine if it were determined to be safe by scientists and it was free; 49% said they would not get it.

  • Large shares are skeptical even among people at the highest risk. Just 20% of Black people with a serious health condition say they definitely would get a safe, free vaccine, as did 24% of those who have a health care worker in the home and 25% of Black seniors.
  • Just 9% of Black adults feel very confident that a vaccine will have been properly tested or will be distributed fairly.

Between the lines: Vaccine hesitancy in the Black community is rooted in experiences with discrimination and systemic racism.

  • The share of Black people who say racial discrimination in health care is commonplace has increased from 56% in 1999 to 70% now.

What’s next: Vaccine distribution will likely begin with health care workers, providing real-world evidence of safety.

  • Political leaders and public health officials who have credibility in communities of color could also help reduce vaccine hesitancy.

The bottom line: A vaccine distribution effort that is not coupled with a credible outreach effort in communities of color is likely to fall far short of reaching many of the people who are most at risk.

Go deeper: Axios-Ipsos poll: The racial gap on coronavirus vaccine

Go deeper

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

  1. Health: CDC expects new COVID surge starting this month — Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low
  2. Politics: Federal judge overturns CDC's eviction moratorium — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants — U.S. will support waiving vaccine patents — Education secretary: All schools expected to be fully in-person this fall
  4. Economy: U.S. may have added more than 2 million jobs in April — A surge in youth unemployment.
  5. World: True COVID-19 death toll is double the official numbers, study finds — Countries testing J&J vaccine doses after contamination at Baltimore plant — Germany opposes Biden's support for waiving vaccine patents
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 21, 2021 - Health

Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Women around the world have borne a disproportionate brunt of the social and economic effects of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Women in the U.S. and around the world already faced an unequal playing field before the pandemic. As countries prepare for the post-COVID-19 world, they need to take special care to ensure the virus doesn't permanently set back the cause of gender equality.

Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

"It's gonna get worse before it gets better": President Biden expects 100,000 Americans to die from COVID-19 during his first six weeks in office.

The big picture: Biden said he's putting America on a wartime footing against the virus, signing 10 executive orders today alone.