When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, adults who know someone who’s gotten a shot are more likely to say they’d get vaccinated themselves, according to new Morning Consult data.
As the vaccine rollout ramps up, officials have been balancing efforts to convince a wary public to get vaccinated with managing a demand for shots that still far outstrips supply. Overall, 60 percent of U.S. adults said they’d get a COVID-19 vaccine if one were available to them, the survey found, but vaccine willingness was tied slightly to the experiences of the people in their lives: 67 percent of adults who know someone who’s gotten vaccinated said they would get a shot, compared with 54 percent of those who don’t know a vaccinated person.
The findings underscore the influence of people’s social circles on their decisions and attitudes around COVID-19 vaccines, and align with previous polling that shows family and friends were more likely to sway the public to get vaccinated than celebrities or politicians.
As of Tuesday morning, nearly 39.7 million people in the United States had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to federal data, and as that figure climbs, public health professionals hope it will begin to soothe the concerns of vaccine-hesitant groups. While 45 percent of adults overall know someone who’s gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, 49 percent of women and 50 percent of Republicans, who both have reported lower levels of vaccine willingness throughout the pandemic, said they know a vaccinated person.
Yet the findings also align with other data showing that in many states, vaccines are not reaching those most affected by the pandemic. As of Feb. 1 in Mississippi, for example, Black people made up 38 percent of the population and 41 percent of COVID-19 deaths but just 17 percent of those who had been vaccinated, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. Other states reported similar disparities.
In the survey, 27 percent of Black adults and 34 percent of Hispanic adults said they know someone who’s been vaccinated, compared with 49 percent of white adults. Black adults have also been less likely to say they’d get vaccinated if a COVID-19 shot were available to them, with their level of willingness reaching 41 percent in the latest survey.
There’s also a gap by income level, with 53 percent of adults making at least $100,000 per year saying they know someone who’s been vaccinated, compared with 41 percent of those making under $50,000.
In all, 11 percent of adults said they have already gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the poll, which was conducted Feb. 12-14 among 2,200 adults and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.