By early July 2021, nearly two-thirds of all U.S. residents 12 years and older had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; 55% were fully vaccinated. But uptake varies drastically by region – and it is lower on average among non-white people.
Many blame the relatively lower vaccination rates in communities of color on “vaccine hesitancy.” But this label overlooks persistent barriers to access and lumps together the varied reasons people have for refraining from vaccination. It also places all the responsibility for getting vaccinated on individuals. Ultimately, homogenizing peoples’ reasons for not getting vaccinated diverts attention away from social factors that research shows play a critical role in health status and outcomes.