Almost one-fifth of adult Americans have now gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. As more people know someone who has received the vaccine, it looks like more have been persuaded to get the vaccine, as well. Do Americans want the COVID vaccine? It seems like more and more people are answering in the affirmative.
The Pew Research Center recently surveyed 10,121 U.S. adults about the COVID-19 vaccine, and in the results released in early March, 50% said they plan to get the vaccine. Combined with the 19% who already have the vaccine, that’s 69% of the adult U.S. population—and 9% more than the number who said they planned to get vaccinated in November 2020.
That’s also potentially just 1% away from the percent of immune Americans needed for the U.S. to reach herd immunity, according to some health experts. Combined with the roughly 11% of Americans who already had COVID-19, it seems hopeful that the U.S. could reach herd immunity by the end of summer 2021.
A different poll conducted by the National Poll on Healthy Aging at the University of Michigan also saw an increase in Americans with the intent to get vaccinated. In that poll, 71% of adults aged 50-80 said they’re ready to get vaccinated when a dose is available to them—an increase from the 58% who said that in October 2020.
Health experts are particularly happy to see that the number of Black Americans who say they would get vaccinated rose from just 41% in November 2020 to 61% in the latest survey. Now the gap between different races has become much smaller when it comes to intent to get the vaccine.
The National Poll on Healthy Aging also saw a 20-point spike in the percentage of Black respondents who said they would likely get vaccinated.
Some reasons why Americans do not want the COVID vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine remains a partisan issue, according to Pew Research data. In fact, it has become more partisan than it was in 2020. Democrats are 27% more likely than Republicans to say they plan to get or have already received a vaccine (83% to 56%).
Additionally, Pew Research found that men trust vaccines more than women (72% vs. 66%), and people with lower income levels continue to be less inclined than those with higher incomes to get a vaccine.
The researchers say factors tied to whether Americans plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine continue to be related to trust in vaccine research and development. On the other hand, people who intend to get the vaccine routinely cite community health as their reason. They’re also more likely to get the flu vaccine routinely.
“Those who do not currently plan to get a vaccine (30% of the public) list a range of reasons why,” the research says. “Majorities cite concerns about side effects (72%), a sense that vaccines were developed and tested too quickly (67%), and a desire to know more about how well they work (61%) as major reasons why they do not intend to get vaccinated.”
While the National Poll on Healthy Aging Director Dr. Preeti Malani told U.S. News that the increase of Americans who plan to get the vaccine is encouraging, she also pointed out that it shows the prevalent “gaps in attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination between racial and ethnic groups.”
“We hope this new knowledge will help the various groups doing education and outreach tailor their approach so they can address questions, concerns, and reasons for vaccine hesitancy,” Malani said.
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