As eligibility to get the Covid-19 vaccination rapidly expanded to all adults in many states over the course of the next month, a new survey shows that the number of Americans, especially black adults, who want to be vaccinated continues to grow. However, it has also been found that skepticism about vaccines persists, especially among Republicans and white Evangelical Christians, an issue that the Biden government has identified as an obstacle to achieving herd immunity and returning to normal life.
Meanwhile, around 61 percent of adults have either received their first dose or are excited about one, up from 47 percent in January, according to the latest monthly survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The shift was most noticeable among black Americans, some of whom were hesitant before but also had access problems. As of February, 14 percent more black adults said they had or had already received the vaccine. Overall, black adults, who have also received violent advertising campaigns from celebrities, local black doctors, clergy and public health officials, now want the vaccine in numbers almost comparable to other leading populations: 55 percent compared with 61 percent for Latinos and 64 percent for whites.
The Biden government has made justice a focus of its pandemic response, adding mass vaccination centers in several underserved communities. In early March, a New York Times analysis of government-reported race and ethnicity information found that vaccination rates for blacks in the United States were half that for whites and the gap was even greater for Hispanic Americans.
Dr. Reed Tuckson, founder of the Black Coalition Against Covid, welcomed the rising adoption rates but noted that practical issues still stand in the way of inclusion.
"The data and our anecdotal feedback encourage and support the need for equitable distribution and easily accessible vaccination sites run by trustworthy organizations," he said. "The system has to support these decisions by doing the right thing to do the simple thing."
Overall, the survey showed that the so-called waiting group – people who have not yet made a decision – is shrinking accordingly, now at 17 percent compared to 31 percent in January. The 7-day average of vaccines administered hit 2.77 million Tuesday, an increase from the pace of the previous week. This is based on data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The survey was conducted March 15-22 among a random sample of 1,862 adults.
Despite the progress, one in five adults (20 percent) said they would either definitely refuse the shot or would only be vaccinated if necessary for their job or school. A number of employers and institutions are considering making such a requirement. Last week, Rutgers University became the first major academic institution to require students to receive the vaccine this fall (with exceptions for medical or religious reasons).
The people most likely to speak out against vaccination identify themselves as Republicans (29 percent) or white Evangelical Christians (28 percent). In contrast, only 10 percent of black adults said they definitely wouldn't get it.
According to the Kaiser poll and other polls, Republicans have changed little in their views on vaccine acceptance in recent months, despite being more open last fall, ahead of the November presidential election. The party-political divide between the Covid-19 shots is wide. Only 46 percent of Republicans say they received or intended to receive at least one shot, compared to 79 percent of Democrats.
No group is monolithic in their reasons for rejecting or accepting the vaccines. Those who are skeptical say they generally distrust the government and are concerned about the speed of vaccine development. Much of the online misinformation clings to a fast-spreading myth – that tracker microchips are embedded in the recordings.
For rural residents, access to the vaccine is so problematic that they simply don't see the logistics and travel time involved as worth it.
With so many reasons cited to avoid the vaccine, it can be difficult to get messages around to improve vaccine confidence. However, the most recent Kaiser report identified a few approaches that appear to be successful in getting people to think about the shots.
At least two-thirds of the so-called wait-and-see group said they were convinced by the message that the vaccines are "almost 100 percent effective in preventing hospital stays and the death of Covid-19". Other strong messages included information that the new vaccines are based on 20 year old technology, that the vaccine trials have involved a wide variety of candidates, and that the vaccines are free.
The survey also found that many people who hesitate would be open to certain incentives. With the country opening up and the return of work on the ground, the employer's role in vaccination is becoming increasingly important. A quarter of those who hesitate and have a job said they would get the shot if their employer arranged for a workplace vaccination. Almost as many would agree if their employers gave them financial incentives between $ 50 and $ 200.
Overall, the strong growth in adults who have either received a dose of the vaccine or who are inclined to receive it is most likely due to their increased familiarity with the term. Surveys show that as they get to know more friends and relatives who got the shot, it is easier for them to imagine getting it themselves.