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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2022 Abstracts

Sensemaking Processes in COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Faith Communities of Color

Presenters: Trent Hulme
Authors: Andrew Moffitt, Trent Hulme, Maricielo Saldarriaga-Noel
Faculty Advisor: Kari O'Grady
Institution: Brigham Young University

The C19 outbreak laid bare the disparities in national resilience capabilities, with some countries (e.g. New Zealand) seen as resilience-competent and others (e.g. the United States) seen as resilience-challenged. Within the U.S., the C19 outbreak provided a brutal audit, surfacing again the institutional disparities baked into U.S. social, economic, political, and healthcare systems. The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) faces a wicked problem: for the U.S. to resiliently respond to C19, the U.S. population must be vaccinated, yet a large percentage of the population is vaccine hesitant. Solving this problem requires examination of tightly held sensemaking narratives -- or global schemas for making sense of what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen-- of those who are vaccine hesitant. More specifically, HHS is concerned with data indicating many in faith-infused communities of color hold sensemaking narratives prohibitive of C-19 vaccination. These same communities are dying from C-19 at disproportionately higher rates than their white counterparts. The unique lens of this research team is on how historical, recent, and current injustices experienced by minority faith-infused communities exacerbate negative impacts of catastrophes. The current study will investigate sensemaking processes in vaccine hesitancy among Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous faith communities based on the five resilience processes of sensemaking during catastrophes In particular, this study focuses on deeply-transmitted sensemaking narratives of these communities and how those narratives contribute to C-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S.