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March 22, 2022
Early View Original Scholarship COVID-19 Health Inequities
Shana Kushner Gadarian
Sara Wallace Goodman
Thomas B. Pepinsky
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Context: The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has been unequally experienced across racial and ethnic groups. Mass vaccination is the most effective way to bring the pandemic to an end and to manage its public health consequences. But the racialization of public health delivery in the United States has produced a sizable racial/ethnic gap in vaccination rates. Closing this gap in vaccine uptake is therefore essential to ending the pandemic.
Methods: We conducted a preregistered, well-powered (N = 2,117) between subjects survey experiment, fielded March 24 to April 5, 2021, in which participants from YouGov’s online panel—including oversamples of Black (n = 471), Hispanic/Latino/a (n=430), and Asian American (n=319) participants—were randomly assigned to see COVID-19 vaccine information endorsed by same- or different-race/ethnicity experts or to a control condition. We then measured respondents’ vaccination intentions, intention to encourage others to get vaccinated, and interest in learning more information and sharing information with others.
Findings: Same-race/ethnicity expert endorsements had no measurable effect on nonwhite or white respondents’ willingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine, to encourage others to get the vaccine, or to learn more or share information with others.
Conclusions: Our study provides empirical evidence suggesting online endorsements from same-race/ethnicity experts do not increase vaccine interest, advocacy, or uptake, though same-race/ethnicity endorsements may be effective in other venues or mediums.
Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccination, race, ethnicity, vaccine hesitancy, expert messaging.
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