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Only Half in Representative US Sample Intends to Get COVID Vaccine
  IAS COVID-19 Conference: Prevention, February 2, 2021
Mark Mascolini
Only 53.6% of people in a sample selected to represent the US adult population planned to get the COVID vaccine when surveyed in 2020 [1]. Blacks, Hispanics, women, and politically conservative people were less likely to want the vaccine.
Researchers from Johns Hopkin University analyzed data publicly available data from the National Opinion Research Center US national survey. Using sampling strata based on age, race/ethnicity, education, and gender, the researchers selected a study sample estimated to represent 97% of US households. They conducted the survey between May 14 and 18, 2020, more than a half-year before COVID-19 vaccines became available. All respondents were 18 or older and lived in the 50 US states or Washington, DC. Researchers contacted them by mail, email, telephone, and field interviews.
The analysis involved 1043 people who answered questions about their COVID vaccine intentions. The investigators used bivariate and multivariate multinomial regression models to identify factors that predicted who did not intend to get the vaccine compared with people who did plan to get vaccinated when a vaccine became available.
While 53.6% said they planned to get the COVID vaccine if it became available, 16.7% did not plan to get vaccinated, and 29.7% were not sure. Multivariate logistic regression determined that, compared with whites, blacks were 6 times more likely to say they would not get vaccinated (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 6.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.46 to 11.60) and Hispanics were twice as likely to decline vaccination (aOR 2.27, 95% CI 1.26 to 4.08).
Women were about 75% more likely than men to report no interest in getting vaccinated (aOR 1.74, 95% CI 1.12 to 2.71), and more politically conservative people proved about 80% more likely than less conservative people to refuse vaccination (aOR 1.82, 95% CI 1.49 to 2.23). People with an income above $50,000 were 50% less likely to say they did not intend to get vaccinated than people with a lower income (aOR 0.52, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.82).
Adhering to two COVID prevention behaviors predicted much lower odds of not wanting vaccination-staying away from groups (aOR 0.22, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.42) and wearing a mask (aOR 0.34, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.54).
In subanalyses by race or ethnicity, the most frequent reason for not wanting vaccination among blacks (65.7%) and Hispanics (46.7%) was concern that getting vaccinated would give them the infection. Smaller proportions of blacks (14.3%) and Hispanics (10.0%) would not want to get vaccinated because they don't believe the COVID-19 outbreak is "as serious as some people say" or because they won't have time to get vaccinated (5.7% of blacks and 10.0% of Hispanics). In contrast, 34.3% of whites not interested in vaccination reported concern about getting infected from the vaccine, and 31.4% believe the pandemic is not as serious as reported.
The Johns Hopkins team called black and Hispanic disinterest in COVID vaccination "disconcerting," given the higher COVID-19 mortality in these groups. Among people not interested in vaccination, blacks were twice as likely as whites to give their reason as fear of getting COVID-19 from the vaccine, while whites were more than twice as likely as blacks to say the pandemic is exaggerated.
The investigators warned that, "unless there are active and targeted campaigns to foster vaccine uptake and access, the public health impact of an effective vaccine is uncertain."
1. Latkin C, Dayton L, Yi G, Kong X. Mask usage, social distancing, racial, and gender correlates of COVID-19 vaccine intentions among adults in the US. IAS COVID-19 Conference: Prevention, February 2, 2021. Abstract 74.