USF study: Vaccine messaging failing to move the needle

A nationwide study released on Thursday from the University of South Florida shows just 59% of people will definitely or probably get the COVID-19 vaccine; a figure that is virtually unchanged since November, when a Pew survey found 60% of people saying they’d take the vaccine.

“There is a crowd that seems to be saying that they want to wait and see what happens,” Dr. Stephen Neely of the University of South Florida’s Department of Public Administration said. “About 18% of those in our survey want to see what happens as their friends and family get vaccinated.”

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The survey of 1,003 adults across the U.S. also found attitudes toward the vaccine splintered along age, race and gender lines.

60% of whites and Hispanics said they’d get the vaccine, while less than half (49%) of Black respondents indicated they would take the vaccine.

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Older Americans made up the largest support for the vaccine, with 76% saying they would take it. A majority (60%) of younger Americans, those age 18-24, also said they’d take the vaccine. However, just 48% of middle-aged Americans said they’d get the shot.

Additionally, 64% of men said they get the vaccine, while just 53% of women said they’d do the same.

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“That’s our understanding of the data, is that women have some additional concerns related to factors such as (potential) effects on fertility,” says Neely.

Researchers are optimistic that as vaccine distribution increases and political developments recede from the forefront, an increased focus on COVID-19 and vaccine distribution will help the nation move toward herd immunity.