Vaccine Hesitancy Is Falling, According to a New Poll

A healthcare worker jokes with a patient after she received a COVID-19 vaccination on February 4, 2021 in Federal Way, Washington. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

Health officials are racing to convince people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to bring about the end of the pandemic, and it seems to be working.

The share of Americans who say they likely will get a shot continues to rise, according to a large-scale report from Pew Research Center released Friday. Nearly 70 percent of Americans say they plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or have already received the vaccine – a steady climb from 60 percent in November, shortly before the first COVID-19 vaccines were available.

The report also found that the U.S. racial divide in vaccine attitudes has shrunk: A majority of Black Americans (61 percent) now say they plan to get a vaccine or have already received one, up sharply from 42 percent in November. But though governments have been trying to address these disparities for Black and Hispanic communities, they are still getting vaccinated at a lower rate than whites, highlighting the need to remove hurdles to vaccinating people of color who have been disproportionately harmed by the virus.

The partisan gap, however, has grown. Pew Research found that only 56 percent of Republicans — a modest 6 point increase since November — say they have already gotten vaccinated or intend to, compared with 83 percent of Democrats. What has remained consistent is the higher rate of willingness to get the vaccine in those with higher incomes and a higher level of education — “a dynamic that is borne out in the shares who say they have already received a COVID-19 vaccine,” the authors write. So far, only 14 percent of lower-income adults say they have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, compared with 27 percent of higher-income adults.

Nevertheless, there are still some who would choose to pass on the vaccine. The overall 30 percent who are disinclined to get a vaccine cited concerns such as side effects, a sense the vaccine was rushed, and a desire to know more about how vaccines work, according to the report. The poll surveyed 10,121 U.S. adults from February 16 to 21.

Vaccine Hesitancy Is Falling, According to a New Poll