News Release

New Nationwide Poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Undefeated Reveals Distrust of the Health Care System Among Black Americans

  • Half of African Americans say they will not take a coronavirus vaccine
  • KFF/The Undefeated poll shows disparate views on health care between Black and white America
  • Poll results published on The Undefeated beginning today

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and The Undefeated have conducted a joint nationwide survey that explores the views and experiences of African Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black communities, 49 percent of African Americans say they will shun taking a vaccine even if scientists deem it safe and it is available for free to anyone who wants it.

From August 20 through September 14, the study polled 1,769 adults, including 777 African Americans. While half of African Americans said they would probably or definitely decline a coronavirus vaccine, two-thirds of white people said they would definitely or probably get vaccinated, as did 60 percent of Hispanic adults, by comparison.

In addition to exploring the effects of the coronavirus, The Undefeated/KFF poll is one of the most expansive studies in recent years on Black people’s attitudes and experiences with health care, and the findings reveal how the experiences of Black and white communities differ. A complete analytical report based on the full survey will be available Wednesday here. Key findings:

Distrust of the health care system:

  • Nearly six in 10 African Americans said they trust the nation’s health care system only some or almost none of the time to do what is right for their communities.

Impact on Black households:

  • Thirty-nine percent of Black adults said they know someone who has died from the coronavirus, nearly double the rate for white adults;
  • The pandemic has left one-third of Black adults and nearly half of Black parents struggling to pay their bills;
  • Two of three Black parents have either lost jobs or had their incomes interrupted since the pandemic struck in February.

The Undefeated, ESPN’s content platform exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture, began reporting the survey results today at, and will continue with daily pieces through Thursday, Oct. 15. Highlights:

  • Disparate Views of Health Care in America: ESPN senior writer Michael Fletcher takes an in-depth look at The Undefeated/KFF poll results, focusing on the disparate views that Black and white people hold of the health care system. Fletcher contrasts experiences, resources and access to care, and views on the impact of structural racism, as well as histories and health profiles.
  • Distrust (Wed., Oct. 14): The Undefeated senior writer Jesse Washington focuses on the significant distrust that African Americans have for the health care system, from their experiences finding and working with doctors to the relative shortage of Black doctors.
  • The Coronavirus Vaccine Dilemma (Wed., Oct. 14): The Undefeated senior writer Lonnae O’Neal explores whether African Americans will take a vaccine, and more.
  • The COVID-19 Double Consciousness (Thur., Oct. 15): O’Neal pens an essay on the civil rights movement of our time.
  • The Black Family (Thur., Oct. 15): Fletcher writes how the pandemic has hammered the Black family – with 46 percent of Black parents saying the pandemic has had a major impact on their ability to afford basic necessities, while a third of Black parents say the pandemic has had a major negative impact on their ability to care for their children.
  • Bias (Thur., Oct. 15): Washington explores unconscious bias as seven of 10 Black adults say unconscious bias has been an obstacle in their lives.

Executive statements:

Kevin Merida, Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, The Undefeated: “We are proud to partner with the Kaiser Family Foundation on this groundbreaking project that explores the views Black Americans have about the health care system and the impact of COVID-19 on their lives. This extraordinary survey and the accompanying reporting and essays are emblematic of The Undefeated’s commitment to delving into the most important issues facing Black communities.”

Drew Altman, President and Chief Executive Officer, KFF: “This joint survey and reporting project gives voice to widespread systemic health disparities affecting the Black community, and the findings about a coronavirus vaccine are a loud alarm bell about the need for a substantial and credible outreach effort when a vaccine is distributed if the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black Americans is to be slowed.”

The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub,, which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.

KFF: Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California. KFF is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.