Published Date: November 30, 2022

Summary: Although it is widely acknowledged that racialized minorities may report lower COVID-19 vaccine willingness compared to non-Hispanic white individuals, what is less known, however, is whether the willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine also differs by citizenship. Understanding disparities in vaccine willingness by citizenship is particularly important given the misleading rhetoric of some political leaders regarding vaccine eligibility by citizenship status.

This study used the 2020 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to examine disparities in vaccine willingness by race/ethnicity and citizenship among Asian, Latinx, and non-Hispanic white individuals.

Findings: Overall, 77.7% of Californians indicated that they were willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if it was made available. However, there were distinct differences by race/ethnicity and citizenship. Asian people, regardless of citizenship, had the highest predicted probability of vaccine willingness, accounting for demographic, socioeconomic, and health factors. Noncitizen Latinx and noncitizen non-Hispanic white people had higher predicted probabilities of vaccine willingness compared to their U.S.-born counterparts, accounting for demographic, socioeconomic, and health factors.

The results reveal that although vaccine willingness may be high among noncitizen individuals, it may not necessarily translate into actual vaccine uptake. Furthermore, while individual-level factors may account for some of the differences in vaccine willingness by race/ethnicity and citizenship, other institutional and structural barriers prevent vaccine uptake.

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