Vaccine Hesitancy In The Canadian Black Community

For the past two and a half years, the pandemic has been front and center. Yet, more now than ever, the debate over the vaccine rages on. Why are black Canadians still hesitant to get the vaccine?

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KEY POINTS

  • Black people in Canada are at high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infections, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths, yet may be more hesitant to receive the vaccine than other Canadians.

  • Vaccine hesitancy in Black communities is not merely because of misinformation or gaps in health literacy; it is linked to medical distrust and structural racism.

  • Afrocentric health promotion and counselling approaches that are centred on respecting patients’ values and perspectives have been used effectively to improve uptake of both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in Black populations in Canada.

  • The LEAPS of care communication framework (Listen and Learn, Empower and Engage, Ask and Acknowledge, Paraphrase and Provide, Support and Spark) can help clinicians bridge barriers to improve vaccine uptake in Black patients who are hesitant about receiving vaccines.

  • Black-led partnerships between health care and stakeholders with existing trusted relationships in the community can confront anti-Black racism and improve outreach to increase confidence in SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in Black communities.