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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 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.
Dec 1, 2020 - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

Dec 1, 2020 - Health

"Every Mother Counts" founder: Midwives need more resources during the pandemic

Axios' Niala Boodho and Christy Turlington Burns.

Midwives and doulas need more support from states to ensure safer births for women , as hospitals increasingly become overwhelmed during the coronavirus pandemic, "Every Mother Counts" founder Christy Turlington Burns said on Tuesday at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: More mothers die in the U.S. from complications during pregnancy than in any other developed country, according to a recent Commonwealth Fund analysis, as well as past reporting by NPR and ProPublica.