News Release

Multiple factors contribute to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among older, ethnic minorities

Study suggests patient-related factors, healthcare providers, health systems and policy may facilitate access or barriers to vaccination

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Multiple factors contribute to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among older, ethnic minorities

image: Microemulsion could allow vaccines to be stockpiled long-term view more 

Credit: Army Medicine, Flickr, CC BY 2.0 (

Older adults from minority ethnic backgrounds are at increased risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19, yet vaccine hesitancy is high amongst individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds. A study publishing November 4th in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Cini Bhanu of University College London, United Kingdom, and colleagues identifies thirteen factors influencing vaccine uptake among older, ethnic minority individuals.

The barriers towards and facilitators of vaccination among older, ethnic minority individuals are not well studied. To better understand the key factors influencing COVID-19 vaccination status, researchers conducted a systematic review of 28 published studies on vaccine uptake within minority communities around the world. The researchers then conducted a synthesized content analysis, grouping data into themes falling into three predetermined structural determinants of COVID-19 vaccination status: 1) healthcare provider and system related; 2) patient-related; 3) policy and operational level.

The researchers were able to identify 13 different themes related to vaccine uptake. Some themes summarized barriers to vaccination, such as misinformation or personal beliefs, while other themes outlined factors facilitating access, such as vaccination reminders from healthcare providers. The study was limited in that all publications reported on influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, not COVID-19. As the researchers did not review COVID-19 specific studies, future research is needed to understand whether vaccine mandates facilitate COVID-19 vaccine uptake among minority communities.

According to the authors, “factors influencing vaccination uptake involve provider and healthcare system, patient-related and governance level factors that are specific to the older ethnic minority community being served.”

Bhanu adds, “Vaccination uptake amongst older adults from minority ethnic backgrounds can be supported through a multi-level approach – including increased education, access and culturally competent discussions with trusted healthcare professionals to address health beliefs. Such measures can maximize the potential impact of widespread vaccination policies.”


In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper in PLOS Medicine:

Citation: Bhanu C, Gopal DP, Walters K, Chaudhry UAR (2021) Vaccination uptake amongst older adults from minority ethnic backgrounds: A systematic review. PLoS Med 18(11): e1003826.

Author Country: United Kingdom

Funding: CB has been awarded a Research Training Fellowship funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust RTF1906\131. DG has been awarded an In Practice Fellowship by the NIHR. NIHR301018. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.