Document Type



The high uptake of COVID-19 vaccines is one of the most promising measures to control the pandemic. However, some African American (AA) communities exhibit vaccination hesitancy due to mis- or disinformation. It is important to understand the challenges in accessing reliable COVID-19 vaccine information and to develop feasible health communication interventions based on voices from AA communities. We conducted 2 focus group discussions (FGDs) among 18 community stakeholders recruited from 3 counties in South Carolina on 8 October and 29 October 2021. The FGDs were conducted online via Zoom meetings. The FGD data were managed and thematically analyzed using NVivo 12. Participants worked primarily in colleges, churches, and health agencies. We found that the challenges of accessing reliable vaccine information in AA communities primarily included structural barriers, information barriers, and a lack of trust. Community stakeholders recommended recruiting trusted messengers, using social events to reach target populations, and conducting health communication campaigns through open dialogue among stakeholders. Health communication interventions directed at COVID-19 vaccine uptake should be grounded in ongoing community engagement, trust-building activities, and transparent communication about vaccine development. Tailoring health communication interventions to different groups may help reduce misinformation spread and thus promote vaccination in AA communities in the southern states.

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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).

APA Citation

Zhang, R., Qiao, S., McKeever, B., Olatosi, B., & Li, X. (2022). Listening to Voices from African American Communities in the Southern States about COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Communication: A Qualitative Study. Vaccines, 10(7), 1046.