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The other obstacle to getting people vaccinated

Some people just don’t want it.

Millions of Texans do not want to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a new University of Houston survey.

While 38 percent of those surveyed said they will be vaccinated when it becomes available to them or have already received the vaccine, about one-in-five (22 percent) of the 1,329 people surveyed said they definitely will not accept it. The survey was conducted by YouGov, a national poll service, and analyzed by the UH Hobby School of Public Affairs, a political science educational institution.

In addition to those who “definitely” will not be vaccinated, another 10 percent say they probably will not get vaccinated.

“From everything I’ve read, experts say that we need to achieve anywhere from 70-90 percent vaccination rate in order to achieve herd immunity,” said Renée Cross, senior director and researcher at the Hobby School. “If right off the bat, we already have one-third saying they won’t get it, it will be very hard for Texas to achieve that level needed for herd immunity.”

[…]

Education level, gender and political party factor into how hesitant people are to being vaccinated, Cross said. But she said the anti-vaccination movement should be factored in.

A slim majority of Republicans (51 percent) said they will be vaccinated, Cross said. The study found that 28 percent of Republicans said they definitely will not get vaccinated, compared with 11 percent of Democrats.

Sixty-five percent of those who said they will not be vaccinated said it is “too new” and they prefer to wait, while 44 percent of that group said the risks of COVID-19 have been exaggerated. More than half of that group said they don’t trust the government or pharmaceutical companies to ensure the vaccine’s safety.

The press release for this poll is here and the full poll data is here. This is from the same suite of policy and politics polls that gave us some data about certain legislative issues. They have a fourth result there that measures opinions about various politicians, which I’ll address in a separate post.

I continue to believe that in the end, a sufficient number of people will get vaccinated. The anti-vaxx threat is real and needs to be confronted, but I believe people are going to want this. Some will prefer to wait, and that’s fine as long as that doesn’t cause a needless delay for those that would be after them in the queue. If it turns out that I’m wrong and we’re not getting close to a sufficient number of vaccinations, then I think we need to consider enacting restrictions on people who have chosen not to get vaccinated. Maybe starting in the 2021-22 school year, each kid has to have been vaccinated or be in line to get vaccinated, or have a medical reason to not get vaccinated, in order to enroll. I hope it doesn’t come to that but it might. For now, let’s keep working to get everyone else vaccinated.

And to that extent, this should help.

Harris County launched a campaign Thursday aimed at convincing hesitant residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

[…]

Harris County’s campaign will focus on communities of color. A national survey of minority groups by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found almost 40 percent of respondents would refuse the vaccine or were undecided.

“Something that is beginning to become evident is the same communities who are hardest-hit by the virus are the communities that are most hesitant to receive the vaccine,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at the Spring Branch Community Health Center. “It’s a tragic fact, and it impacts particularly Black and Hispanic communities, which have been hammered by this virus from the very beginning.”

She attributed that to the lack of health care access in minority communities, as well historic neglect by government health agencies and initiatives. Hidalgo said Harris County needs to break down the “wall of suspicion” to convince residents to trust the vaccine. The county will run ads in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Good. Not everyone will be convinced, but the poll clearly showed that some of the resistance to taking the vaccine is from concerns that it has been rushed and that the long-term effects are not known. People of color have a variety of reasons to be suspicious of the healthcare industry, and we have to address those concerns in an honest and direct manner. This is the most straightforward path to lowering the resistance to the vaccine, and it’s good that Harris County and Judge Hidalgo recognize that.

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4 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Wow. All the sudden, “herd immunity” isn’t an evil topic. Here’s the thing that the poll, and the extrapolated numbers don’t address. Say 30% won’t take the vaccine. A percentage of those non vaxxers are going to get the Wu flu anyway, and once they get it, they won’t get it again, at least for a while. So they’ll have some immunity the old fashioned way…..by getting it and recovering….or for an unlucky few, dying. Either way, Those numbers should count towards that “herd immunity” figure.

    Once again, I see zero need to waste resources on an ad campaign to convince people to get vaccinated while there are still plenty of willing, and sometimes desperate, people who want to get it. Pick up the stragglers after the willing have already gotten the shot.

  2. C.L. says:

    Buddy of mine. Contracted C-19 about 6-7 months and lived through it. Never got the vaccine shot post-recovery regardless of the fact that he’s in a high, high risk category. Was diagnosed positive again five days ago. Yesterday he was admitted to the hospital for respiratory failure.

    So much for getting it, surviving, and having herd immunity going forward.

  3. Manny says:

    Every two minutes a person dies from Covid, great job Republicans in helping spread it with it is a hoax so no need to wear masks.

    Thank you, Republican Abbott, for Harris County being at an extremely high risk level.

    Thank you Republicans and Gov. Gregg Abbott for the following; In certain states like Texas and Florida, officials have ordered schools to reopen for in-person learning, but teachers have not been made eligible for shots. Of the 15 counties with the worst coronavirus outbreaks now, more than half are in Texas.

  4. voter_worker says:

    I just signed up for the Harris County waitlist. I’m the exact opposite of “vaccine hesitant”.