All Americans are finally more willing to accept COVID-19 vaccine, with hesitancy falling in all groups, based on race, gender, political party and religion, new data shows.
In March, 62 percent of Americans overall had been or soon would be vaccinated. That included about 64 percent of white people had been or would soon be vaccinated, compared to 55 percent of black who answered a Kaiser Health News survey.
But people of color are still more skeptical of the shots than their white counterparts, according to a separate study.
The same minority groups who have been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 are considerably less likely to get vaccinated against the virus that causes the disease, according to the new University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study.
While about 70 percent of white study participants in San Francisco said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, only about 40 percent of black Americans and fewer than 60 percent of people who identified as Hispanic, Asian, other or multiple races said they would.
Nearly 29 percent of Americans have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 16 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
But troubling racial gaps persist. Even as vaccine eligibility expands in nearly every U.S. state, white people are still snapping up appointments in underserved areas, and people of color remain hesitant to accept the shots.
In March, 62 percent of Americans overall had been or soon would be vaccinated. That included about 64 percent of white people had been or would soon be vaccinated, compared to 55 percent of black who answered a Kaiser Health News survey
Health care workers (left) were more likely than non-healthcare workers to get vaccinated, but black Americans (yellow) were up to 75% less likely to accept a chot compared to their white (dark gray) peers, according to the UCSF study
The UCSF researchers surveyed 1,803 health care workers and 3,161 people from the general population in the greater San Francisco area.
Health care workers of any race were more likely to say ‘yes’ to a vaccine, but the difference was not a substantial one
But racial disparities were clear in both groups.
The odds that a black health care worker would take a COVID-19 vaccine compared to a white worker were 0.24 to one, according to the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
In other words, roughly 90 percent of white medical center employees said they would get vaccinated, compared to just 65 percent of black employees.
Latino or Hispanic people were slightly more likely to accept vaccination, with nearly 80 percent saying they’d likely get a shot.
About 75 percent of Asian Americans, 65 percent of people who reported their race as ‘other’ and 80 percent of people of multiple races said they were likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Among the general population, there was an even larger shares of each group who were still on the fence about vaccination.
This is somewhat to be expected, as people with close contact with the medical industry tend to be more comfortable with drugs and vaccines.
However, when the vaccine rollout began in the U.S., unexpected rates of hesitancy among health care workers – who, along with nursing home residents, got first priority access to shots – caused bottlenecks in the vaccination campaign and even led to some precious doses being wasted.
The UCSF data, collected between November 2020 and January 2021 showed that the general public was even more reluctant than the surprisingly reluctant health care workers.
Only about 40 percent if black survey respondents who do not work in health care and fewer than 60 percent of people who are of Asian, Hispanic, ‘other’ or mixed races were likely to take the vaccine.
By comparison, about 70 percent of white people said they would probably accept a COVID-19 vaccine when they were eligible.
That’s a gap of about 75 percent separating the odds white or black person will get vaccinated, and a 14 percent disparity between white people and other people of color.
The UCSF team was disappointed, and deeply concerned by the patterns in their survey data.
‘Special effort is required to reach historically marginalized populations, including those in health occupations, to support informed vaccination decision-making and facilitate access,’ they wrote.
‘Efforts must acknowledge a history of racism that has degraded the trustworthiness of health and medical science institutions among historically marginalized populations, undermined confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, and perpetuated inequitable access to care.’
Compared to a white American, a black person is 1.1 times more likely to get COVID-19, 2.9 times more likely to need to be hospitalized and 1.9 times more likely to die of the infection.
Hispanic people in the US face 1.3 times higher risks of infection, 3.1 times higher risk of hospitalization are a 2.3 times greater risk of being killed by Covid, compared to their white peers, according to CDC data.
For Native Americans, risks are 1.7 times, 3.7 times and 2.4 times higher for infection, hospitalization and death, respectively, compared to white people
Clearly, vaccination is most urgent for communities of color – but so far, they are not the first group getting vaccinate.
About two thirds of all vaccine doses have been given to white people in the U.S.
Only 9.3 percent of those vaccinated in America are Hispanic, 1.4 percent are Native America and 4.9 percent are Asian.
Just 8.2 percent of people who have had at least one dose of a vaccine are black, despite the fact that 13.4 percent of the U.S. population is African American or black.
But there are some hopeful signs that this will shift – or at least the willingness of Americans to get vaccinated seems to be on the rise, according to new data from Kaiser Health News.
Only 13 percent of Americans now say they definitely will not get vaccinated, down slightly from 15 percent in February.
More importantly though, 32 percent of respondents said they had already gotten vaccinated and 30 percent of people in the U.S. said thy would get their shots ass soon as possible.
Together, that means that 62 percent of people were definitely planning to get vaccinated, or already had been – up from 55 percent in February.
And that included 55 percent of black Americans who now said they had been vaccinated or had been already – an increase of 14 percentage points compared to February’s poll.
In fact, the traits that were most predictive people would decline vaccination were either being Republican or white Evangelical Christians.