Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Getting COVID-19 Vaccine: Do Age, Gender, and Education Matter?

Wei Zhang, Yan Yan Wu, Bei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: COVID-19 disproportionately affects racial/ethnic minorities and vaccine can help mitigate infection and transition, decrease rate of hospitalization, lower mortality rate, and control the pandemic. This study aims to examine disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rate by age among Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, and Asian Americans, and the modification effects by gender and education. Methods: We used seven waves of biweekly surveys from the Household Pulse Survey collected between July 21, 2021, and October 11, 2021. Results: Asians reported the highest, Blacks reported the lowest vaccination rate, and gender differences were minimal. Increasing age was associated with higher vaccination rate except for the oldest age group. The decline was from 84.4% (70-79 years) to 41.1% (80-88 years: 41.1%) among Hispanics and 92.8% to 69.6% among Asians. Educational effect was the most salient among younger adults with the largest gaps observed in Blacks. Among 18-29-year Black participants, the vaccination rates were 31.1% (confidence interval [95% CI]: 25.7-37.1) for high school or lower, 58.9% (95% CI: 54.2-63.5) for some college or associate degree, and 74.2% (95% CI: 69.4-78.5) for bachelor or higher degrees, leaving a 43.1% gap between the lowest and the highest education levels. The gaps in this age group were 33.7% among Whites, 32.1% among Hispanics, and 20.5% among Asian Americans. Conclusion: Our study advances the existing literature on COVID-19 vaccination by providing empirical evidence on the dynamic race/ethnic-age-education differences across racial/ethnic groups. The findings from our study provide scientific foundation for the development of more strategies to improve vaccination rate for the minority populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-507
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Equity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • age
  • disparities
  • education
  • race/ethnicity
  • vaccination rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Information Management


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