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Many More Older Americans Willing to Get COVID Vaccine: Poll

WEDNESDAY, March 10, 2021 -- Older Americans are far more willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine than they were last fall, a new survey shows.

The survey was conducted in late January. It found that 71% of adults aged 50 to 80 said they're ready to get vaccinated when a dose is available to them, or that they'd already been vaccinated.

That's a significant increase from 58% last October found by the National Poll on Healthy Aging at the University of Michigan.

The new findings are "incredibly encouraging, given the amount of hesitancy we saw in our poll from late fall," Dr. Preeti Malani, the poll's director, said in a university news release. She's a professor of infectious diseases.

Increases in vaccine receptiveness were especially high among people who are at greater risk of severe COVID-19, including Black and Hispanic Americans, and people in fair or poor health.

Between October and January, there was a 20-point spike in the percentage of Black respondents who said they would likely get vaccinated, an 18-point increase among Hispanics, and a 9-point rise among white people.

There also was an 11-point jump among respondents who said their health was fair or poor, likely including many with chronic conditions that can increase their risk of serious COVID-19 illness. However, they were still less likely to want to get vaccinated than those in better health, the survey found.

As of late January, 60% of Black respondents, 69% of Hispanic respondents, and 62% of those in fair or poor health said they were very likely or somewhat likely to get vaccinated, or had already received at least one dose. The rate among white respondents was 72%, regardless of health status.

As in October, the new poll showed that older adults with higher household incomes or more education were more likely to say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine.

While encouraging, "these new data still reveal gaps in attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination between racial and ethnic groups," Malani said. "We hope this new knowledge will help the various groups doing education and outreach tailor their approach so they can address questions, concerns and reasons for vaccine hesitancy."

© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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