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Poll shows vaccination hesitancy is solidifying

A new statewide vaccine poll conducted for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management by the Research Institute for Social Equity at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University finds the number of unvaccinated individuals willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine has declined.

Among those surveyed in the July poll who have not yet been vaccinated, 27% indicated they are likely to get vaccinated in the future compared with 56% in the April poll and 30% in the May poll. The poll, conducted between July 6 and July 19, involved a representative sample of 842 adults in Virginia and has a margin of error of 4.62%.

Future intention to get vaccinated varies by race and ethnicity, with 69% of unvaccinated Hispanic respondents, 41% of unvaccinated African Americans and 23% of unvaccinated whites indicating that they are likely to get the vaccine.

“These latest results, though showing increases in those receiving the vaccine, still fall short in some areas,” former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said. “The lag in some groups along racial and partisan lines reflects historical patterns.”

By political party, 33% of Republicans, 18% of independents, and 7% of Democrats remain unvaccinated. However, only 17% of unvaccinated Republicans are likely to get vaccinated, compared to 35% of unvaccinated Democrats and 41% of unvaccinated independents.

Confidence in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, however, is on the rise. For those not yet vaccinated, the concern that vaccines were developed and tested too quickly decreased from 72% to 65% between the April and July polls respectively.

A majority (70%) of parents with children ages 11 and under said they were likely to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 if a vaccine is approved and made available at no cost compared to 53% of parents in the May poll and 63% of parents interviewed in the April poll.

Willingness varied by race and age, with 70% of whites, 64% of African Americans and 55% of Hispanics indicating a willingness to vaccinate children under the age of 11. Additionally, 77% of parents ages 35-54 reported they are likely to vaccinate their children, compared to 54% of parents ages 18-34.

Parental vaccine hesitancy also had a significant impact on respondent views regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for children. As was the case in the April and May polls, more than 90% of parents of children ages 11 and under who stated they are “unlikely” to get themselves vaccinated were also “unlikely” to vaccinate their children.