Ethnic minorities’ perceptions of COVID-19 vaccines and challenges in the pandemic: A qualitative study to inform COVID-19 prevention interventions

Shuo Zhou, Jennifer Paola Villalobos, Alondra Munoz, Sheana Bull

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


COVID-19 has disproportionate impacts on ethnic minorities in the United States. To develop culturally tailored prevention messages for improving COVID-19 vaccine uptake among ethnic minorities, we conducted in-depth interviews with Latino/a, Black, and American Indian/Alaska Native participants to explore their 1) challenges and concerns during the pandemic, 2) information needed, 3) the barriers and facilitators to receiving COVID-19 vaccines, 4) acceptance of different mobile platforms to receive information about COVID-19 and its vaccines, 5) preference for prevention messages, and 6) suggestions for cultural adaptation of the messages.

Commonly mentioned challenges among interviewees included impacts on their social life, financial well-being, mental and physical health, education, and work. The majority expressed acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines, however with some reservations. Three themes emerged regarding the barriers to getting vaccinated—concerns about vaccine safety, misinformation and inconsistent information, and distrust of the government and healthcare system. Participants preferred messages with the following features: informative and backed up with factual evidence; encouraging and motivational messages that focused on the hope to end the pandemic and return to normal; short and easy-to-read messages; other- or social-framed messages; direct instructions for COVID-19 prevention strategies; and messages with reminders. Participants suggested that messages should include different cultural practices, be translated into their native languages, and emphasize care for other people.

This study enhances our understanding of ethnic minorities’ challenges and needs during the pandemic and their views on COVID-19 vaccines. The findings provide important guidance to develop effective public health messages to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake rate and prevent the disease for populations facing disparities in COVID-19.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
EventAmerican Public Health Association (APHA) conference 2021 - Denver, United States
Duration: 24 Oct 202127 Oct 2021


ConferenceAmerican Public Health Association (APHA) conference 2021
Abbreviated titleAPHA 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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