THURSDAY, April 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) – U.S. resistance to a COVID-19 vaccine is slowly declining, according to a new online poll.
Among adults under 65 who are reluctant, reluctance is mainly due to concerns about safety, side effects, and distrust of the government, the survey found. It is also largely related to the work of the people.
Bottom Line: “Reluctance to vaccines is a major barrier to ending the COVID-19 pandemic,” said lead author Wendy King, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health.
Identifying occupations with high rates of vaccine reluctance and understanding the reasons behind them could help public health workers address concerns, she said.
“Our study shows that news about COVID-19 vaccine safety and the treatment of trust is paramount,” King said in a university press release.
King and researchers from the Delphi Group at nearby Carnegie Mellon University analyzed the results of their ongoing COVID-19 survey in collaboration with the Facebook Data for Good group. Approximately 1.2 million US citizens in Facebook’s active user database take the survey each month.
In January, the survey added a question about willingness to receive the vaccine.
This study was limited to adults of working age as workplace outbreaks and the spread of infection from workers to customers pose a public health threat. Many working-age adults are also more reluctant to get a shot than older Americans.
While the resistance continues, there was some encouraging news: The vaccine delay fell from 27.5% in January to 22% in March, according to the survey.
The March survey comprised 732,308 people (average age: 35 to 44 years, ie half were older, half were younger). About 45% were male, 77% had a college education, and 64% were white.
Almost 48% of those who reported vaccine reluctance expressed concern about side effects. More than a third didn’t think they needed the shot, didn’t trust the government, waited to see if the vaccine was safe, or didn’t specifically trust COVID-19 vaccines. And 14.5% said they generally disliked vaccines.
Workers in some trades were more reluctant than others to take the push. The hesitation rate ranged from 9.6% for educators and people in the life, physics, or social sciences to 46% for workers in construction, oil and gas exploration, and mining. Reluctance was almost as high among installation, maintenance, repair, agriculture, fishing, or forestry workers.
In the healthcare sector, pharmacists hesitated the least at 8.5%. The highest reluctance, 20.5%, was experienced by medical assistants, paramedics, and home health, nursing, psychiatric, or personal care assistants.
“The survey has been expanded to collect data on symptoms, illness, treatment, testing, behaviors such as masking and distancing, and mental health,” said senior author Robin Mejia of Carnegie Mellons Dietrich College for the Humanities and Social Sciences. “And it continues to evolve when new political issues arise.”
The survey results were published on April 24th on the preprint server medRxiv and have not been reviewed by experts.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on COVID-19 and vaccinations.
Source: University of Pittsburgh, press release, April 28, 2021