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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Debra L. Schutte


On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a global pandemic. There were no approved medications or treatments to cure the coronavirus resulting in an unprecedented acceleration of the COVID-19 vaccine development. Vaccine hesitancy in the Black American (BA) population is well documented and can be attributed to the historical lack of trust BA have in the health care system and government. Black Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Deaths and morbidity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the BA population is a public health concern. To design culturally competent education for providers, it is important to understand how this population is affected by and what they believe about the COVID-19 virus to facilitate uptake of the vaccine and reduce COVID-19 related health disparities in this population. The purpose of this study is to examine older BA experiences, beliefs, and perception of COVID-19 as it relates to their willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This study examines whether older BA adults’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and knowledge of COVID-19 illness mediate their decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A cross-sectional, descriptive correlational research design was used for this study. Participants completed a telephone survey that measured demographics, cognitive status, personal experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Belief Model constructs, and intent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Of 230 older BA participants, negative experiences endorsed by the majority of participants included illness of a family member (49.6%), successful in getting tested (62.2%), isolation at home (66.1%), death of a family member (25.2%), and quarantine related to a suspected infection (12.6%) and under half (n=107, 46.5%) of the participants believed that COVID-19 is a man-made phenomenon. Fifty percent (n=115) of the participants intended to accept the COVID-19 vaccine. This study provided a cross-sectional examination of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on older BA. Assessing the impact of inequities and social susceptibility can improve the understanding of risks and protective factors that can impact the health of older BA during the COVID-19 pandemic and improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance.

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