Minority groups acceptance of vaccines on the rise

Older adults and those with chronic conditions also more willing to be vaccinated than in the fall

Last fall, a poll taken by the University of Michigan showed that nearly half of older adults were unsure whether they would get a COVID-19 vaccination. Now, a follow-up poll shows that 71% of people between 50 and 70 are ready to be vaccinated — or had already been vaccinated in January, an increase of 58% since October.

Older adults with especially high risk of severe COVID—Blacks, Hispanics and people in poor health—showed increasing acceptance, as well. Black respondents jumped 20 points, Hispanics 18, while Whites jumped 9 points. Those with chronic conditions saw an 11-point increase in the likelihood of getting vaccinated.

The data come from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, based at U-M’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation with support from AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center. The full report based on data from October is available here.

“This is incredibly encouraging, given the amount of hesitancy we saw in our poll from late fall,” says Preeti Malani, M.D., the poll’s director and a professor of infectious diseases at the university. “But these new data still reveal gaps in attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination between racial and ethnic groups. We hope this new knowledge will help the various groups doing education and outreach tailor their approach so they can address questions, concerns and reasons for vaccine hesitancy.”

In both outings, the poll asked older adults the question, “Assuming no cost to you, when a COVID vaccine is available, how likely are you to get it?” Respondents in January had the additional option to answer that they had already been vaccinated.

The percentage of all respondents who were most enthusiastic about vaccination – those who said they were ‘very likely’ to get the vaccine – jumped 20 percentage points, from 33% in October to 53% in January.

As in October, the new poll shows that individuals who have higher household incomes or more education were also more likely to report they would get a COVID vaccine.