Poll finds increasing number of Americans, including Black people, would take COVID vaccine

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Americans are increasingly willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine, especially Black and Hispanic Americans, according to a new poll released Tuesday. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 71 percent of Americans are willing to take a free and safe COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of eight percent from three months ago. 

The increases are the most dramatic among Black adults: 62 percent of those polled in December said they would be willing to take a free and safe vaccine, compared to 50 percent three months ago. 

Officials had worried about convincing people to get vaccinated, especially people from communities of color who have been exploited by the public health system in the past, and who still face worse health outcomes compared to white people, partly due to unequal access to care and racism. 

Public health officials have worked in recent months to assuage those concerns ahead of the expected authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The poll, which was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8, indicates some of those efforts have been successful, not just among people of color but across all segments of society. 

But the poll found a partisan gap in willingness to take a vaccine: 86 percent of Democrats said in December they would take the vaccine, compared to 77 percent three months ago. 

Only 56 percent of Republicans said the same in December, compared to 47 percent in September.

While the poll found increases in the percentage of Americans willing to take the vaccine, vaccine hesitancy still remains. 

The poll found vaccine hesitancy is highest among Republicans, those between the ages of 30 and 49, and rural residents, Black adults and essential workers. 

The main reasons cited among people who said they did not want to get vaccinated were worries about side effects, lack of trust in the government to ensure the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness, concerns that the vaccine is too new, and concerns about the role of politics in the development process.

Black adults were more likely to cite concerns about side effects and the newness of the vaccine. Republicans were more likely to say they won’t get a vaccine because they believe the risks of COVID-19 are being exaggerated. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine last week. States began inoculating the first Americans outside of clinical trials Monday. 

The FDA was also advised to grant emergency authorization to the vaccine by an independent panel of doctors and scientists who are not affiliated with the Trump administration. 

Several other countries have also approved the Pfizer vaccine, including the UK. 

Doctors have warned that some patients could have potential side effects like fatigue, headaches, chills or muscle pain that could last about a day, but no serious health problems have been reported. 


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