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Race, ethnicity, psychological factors, and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic

NCJ Number
Yue Yuan; Chris Melde; Ni Zhang ; Pranuthi Pagidipati
Date Published
12 pages

This study examined the associations between perceived risk, perceived severity, and fear of contracting COVID-19 and vaccine acceptance among different ethnic groups in San José, California.


The authors surveyed 3,797 adults living in San José using a multi-stage, clustered sampling design in which we randomly selected census tracts in San José followed by households within each census tract. They estimated the odds ratio (ORs) for perceived risk, perceived general severity, fear of contracting COVID-19, and vaccine acceptance using regression models. Finally, they assessed the differential impacts of perceived risk, perceived severity, and fear of contracting the COVID-19 on vaccine acceptance by controlling for social-demographic variables. Hispanic/Latino respondents reported higher levels of perceived risk and lower fear of contracting COVID-19 than Asians. Hispanic/Latinos (odds ratio [OR] = 0.48, P < 0.05), Whites (OR = 0.61, P < 0.05), and African Americans (OR = 0.28, P < 0.05) were less likely to report intentions to be vaccinated than Asians. Finally, perceived risk and perceived personal severity were not associated with intentions to be vaccinated, while perceived general severity and fear of contracting COVID-19 were stronger predictors of vaccination intentions. The study highlights the importance of psychological factors in understanding vaccine acceptance across race/ethnicity groups. (Published abstract provided)