COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in US has declined, survey finds
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy declined in the United States in late 2020 and early 2021, according to a survey of more than 7,000 adults.
Survey results, which were published in JAMA, showed the largest declines in vaccine hesitancy among Black and Hispanic people.
“This decrease is important because COVID-19 vaccine acceptance has been particularly low among these groups, who have experienced a disproportionate burden of severe illness and death because of COVID-19,” Michael Daly, PhD, associate professor of psychology and behavioral science at Maynooth University in Maynooth, Ireland, and colleagues wrote. “Declines in hesitancy were reported alongside an increase in public trust in vaccine development and the governmental approval process.”
Daly and colleagues examined online survey responses from 7,420 U.S. adults via the Understanding America Study of U.S. adults, which was conducted from Oct. 14, 2020, to March 29, 2021. The survey asked participants how likely they were to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The researchers classified respondents as hesitant or willing to vaccinate based on their responses. They were also asked to rank their trust in the governmental approval process to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for the public as well as the general process for developing safe vaccines.
The researchers observed an overall decline in vaccine hesitancy of 10.8 percentage points (95% CI, 8.9-12.7) during the study period — a drop from 46% in October 2020 to 35.2% in March 2021. Declines in hesitancy were largest among Hispanic and Black participants, with decreases of 15.8 percentage points and 20.9 percentage points, respectively.
In March, hesitancy was highest among adults aged 18 to 39 years (44.1%), participants without a degree (42.9%) and households earning $50,000 or less annually (43.7%).
“Despite these gains, in March 2021, estimates of vaccine hesitancy remained high, especially among young adults and Black and low socioeconomic status participants,” the authors wrote. “Further steps are needed to build public trust, extend outreach and educational programs, and increase vaccination opportunities to ensure high levels of vaccination uptake.”