Building COVID-19 Vaccine Trust is a Two-Way Street

April 5, 2021
Kevin Kunzmann

Vaccine access and new cases are both increasing. An expert discusses earning trust in at-risk communities.

A new research letter highlighting a San Francisco-based survey study highlighted concerning disparities in racial and ethnic likelihood of interest in getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The findings, which come at a time when COVID-related inequity has been well-defined among differing races and ethnic groups in the US, highlight the historical systemic issue of healthcare inequality among patients.

Investigators reported that Asian and multiracial individuals, and those of other races were more similar to Black and Latinx individuals than White individuals in their likeliness of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

As people of color and their respective US communities have faced disproportionate burden of the pandemic, inequities in vaccination, investigators wrote, would compound these disparities.

In a Contagion interview regarding these findings, study author Kevin Grumbach, MD, of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at University of California San Francisco, discussed the implication of results at a time when vaccination rollout is peaking in the US, and new cases are again steadily increasing.

“There’s been a really good framework to say we should really talk about our trustworthiness,” Grumbach said. “Have we earned the trust, as people in public health, biomedical research, and healthcare, particularly with communities that have been subject to oppression and even in exploitation in certain biomedical activities?”