Returning at Any Cost? How Black College Students’ Feel Toward COVID Vaccines and Institutional Mandates

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Decades of research have found African Americans to be unfairly marginalized by healthcare systems. As U.S. colleges released their plans to re-open for in-person classes for the Fall 2021 semester and beyond, research is needed into how African American students view vaccine mandates, such as the one levied in March 2021 by Rutgers University and many other institutions. Subsequently, the purpose of this study is to explore how African American students feel regarding vaccine mandates and a return to in-person learning. In all, this survey study engaged with 180 African American college students currently enrolled in postsecondary education in the United States. Results suggest Black women are more comfortable with COVID-19 vaccinations than Black men, and Black women are more willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine to return to in-person learning on campus. Implications of this work outline how Black women may return to in-person higher education at greater numbers than Black men, perhaps further marginalizing Black men from higher education. Students with disabilities and students attending 4-year institutions also expressed the most discomfort and least likelihood to take a COVID-19 vaccine if it were mandated. Implications for equity and campus safety are addressed.

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Journal of Black Studies

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