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One-Third of U.S. Adults Continue to Be Hesitant About COVID-19 Vaccines

TUESDAY, March 2, 2021 -- More than one-third of nonelderly U.S. adults report they are unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a report released by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Michael Karpman, of the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute, and colleagues based their findings on the Urban Institute Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey of 7,737 adults ages 18 to 64 years conducted between Dec. 8 and 30, 2020.

The researchers found that 35 percent of adults reported they were unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including 19 percent who would probably not get vaccinated and 16 percent who would definitely not get vaccinated. Nearly half of Black respondents (49 percent) were vaccine-hesitant versus about one-third of White and Hispanic adults, but given the differences in population size, White adults constituted 59 percent of all vaccine-hesitant nonelderly adults. Republican respondents were nearly twice as likely as Democratic respondents to say they would probably not or definitely not get vaccinated (47 versus 25 percent). Vaccine-hesitant adults were most concerned about side effects and vaccine effectiveness, although more than half (57 percent) believed they did not need the vaccine, a belief more common among Republicans (63 percent). One in four vaccine-hesitant adults (24 percent) said they did not have a usual source of health care and 15 percent reported being uninsured.

"Notably, a history of racial discrimination, medical abuses, and neglect by the health care system and government has shaped Black adults' hesitancy toward the COVID-19 vaccines," Karpman said in a statement.

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