Vaccine hesitancy fell across the U.S. in late 2020, especially among adults older than 65, according to national estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The findings, posted in an early release for the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, drew from 3,541 U.S. adults, weighted to reflect the national population. The CDC conducted a survey from Sept. 3 to Oct. 1 to determine Americans’ likelihood of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Additional surveys were issued Dec. 18-20 to 2,033 people to re-examine perceptions, also said to be reflective of the larger U.S. population.
The percentage of respondents who were “absolutely certain or very likely” to get vaccinated increased from 39% to 49%, while “nonintent” (those not intending to get vaccinated) fell from 38% to 32%.
Adults over 65 saw a 17% rise in willingness to get vaccinated, from 49% to 66%, and other priority groups also reported increases, like essential workers (37% to 46%), and those aged 18-64 with underlying medical conditions (37% to 42%).
The health agency said the findings suggest an uptick in vaccine confidence. However, younger adults, women, Black individuals, people living outside metro areas, and those with less education, income, and no health insurance reported the most resistance to vaccinations, the study says.
Widespread vaccination is key to end the pandemic; however, concerns about COVID-19 vaccines still linger. The largest worries among survey respondents involved vaccines’ side effects and safety as well as a speedy development process.
Concerns about side effects and safety appear to be growing, while the concerns over fast development fell in the report. Some said they would wait and see if the vaccine is safe and possibly get the vaccine later on. Others said they don’t trust the government.
Public health experts are well aware of these concerns and have been pushing messaging of safe and effective vaccines for months, with Dr. Anthony Fauci attributing the fast development time to “extraordinary scientific advancements.”
“Ensuring high and equitable vaccination coverage among all populations, including by addressing reasons for not intending to receive vaccination, is critical to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and bring an end to the pandemic,” report authors wrote.