COVID-19 outreach to Black youth and young adults


What concerns do young African Americans have about the COVID-19 vaccine?

How can vaccine hesitancy and resistance be addressed among young African Americans?

Audience research was conducted in person July-September 2021 during a series of six outdoor community events in St. Louis, MO. Our team had over 140 interactions with attendees of dance battle and talent showcase events among African American youth and young adults ages 16-24.

Vaccination rates among young African Americans in St. Louis were lower than other subgroups at the outset of the event series. Self-reported vaccination rates of attendees increased from 36% in July 2021 to 65% August-September 2021. Audience research identified promising themes for encouraging vaccination (e.g., protecting family members, explaining the vaccination adverse event reporting system) as well as ineffective approaches (e.g., focusing on personal health protection, blaming, shaming, or judging the unvaccinated).

The project partnered with Story Stitchers a collective of young African American performance artists in St. Louis. This organization hosted the event series during which we engaged with young African Americans to hear their concerns of vaccine hesitancy and vaccine resistance. The City of St. Louis Department of Health also provided vaccinations at several events.

STL COVID-19 Vaccine Insights – Youth & Young Adults (July 15, 2021)
Message concept testing with Youth and Young Adults (July 22, 2021)
COVID-19 Delta variant message testing in African American  youth and young adults (September 2, 2021)
Responses to stories illustrating COVID-19 transmission by unvaccinated young people (September 17, 2021)


Karen Skinner