SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Americans’ reluctance to get vaccinated for covid-19 is waning, according to a poll released Wednesday. Nearly half of adults surveyed in January said they have either already been vaccinated or want the vaccine as soon as they can, up from about a third of adults polled in December, according to the latest KFF survey. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)
About 20 million Americans have been vaccinated for covid since distribution of the first vaccines began in mid-December. The pace has also picked up in recent weeks, with more than a million Americans on average getting vaccinated every day. The survey found that when people know someone close to them who has been vaccinated, they are more likely to want the shots.
About half of those who said they want the shot as soon as possible know someone who has already gotten a dose, a much larger share than among those who said they’ll get it only if required (29%) or will refuse to get it (36%).
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Nearly half (47%) of adults said they have personally received at least one vaccine dose or know someone who has. People posting their vaccination status on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter has helped spread the word.
Racial, ethnic and economic disparities continue, however. White adults (51%) are more likely than Black (38%) or Hispanic (37%) respondents to have either been vaccinated or know someone who has, and those with annual household incomes of at least $90,000 are almost twice as likely as those with incomes under $40,000 to say so (64% vs. 34%). (Hispanics can represent any race or combination of races.)
About 3 in 10 adults said they want to wait until the vaccine “has been available for a while to see how it is working for others” before getting it themselves. About 7% of adults said they will get the vaccine only “if required to do so for work, school or other activities,” and just 13% said they will “definitely not get” the vaccine, not a significant change.
The poll also found about 1 in 3 health care workers planned to wait to see how the vaccine is working or would get it only if required to.
The percentage of people who said they want the vaccine immediately is up among the racial and ethnic groups surveyed, although white (53%) adults remained more likely to say so than Black (35%) and Hispanic (42%) adults. Black (43%) and Hispanic (37%) adults were more likely than white adults (26%) to say they want to “wait and see” before getting vaccinated, according to the poll.
Democrats and independents also showed increased enthusiasm, though Republicans’ views were little changed since December.
Republicans remained the least enthusiastic political group, with 32% saying they have already been vaccinated or want the vaccine as soon as they can, 33% saying they want to wait and see how it works for others, and 25% saying they will definitely not get the vaccine.
The KFF survey of 1,563 adults was conducted Jan. 11-18 and had a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.
This story also ran KHN (Kaiser Health News), a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.