Vaccine Acceptance Has Increased Significantly, But Widespread Resistance Persists

Vaccine Acceptance Has Increased Significantly, But Widespread Resistance Persists

In this article, we examine the topic of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance using data from two TIPP Polls, one conducted in early December and the other in late February. We show that despite significant increases across the board, widespread resistance remains.

Anjali Krishnan
Anjali Krishnan

The TIPP Economic Optimism Index indicates that economic sentiment is improving. One significant factor contributing to this burgeoning optimism is the arrival and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine.

tippinsights analyzed our data from surveys conducted in early December 2020 and late February 2021 on Americans' feelings of trust and confidence levels in the safety and efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccine. We found that a small but significant positive shift has occurred, over the past three months, regarding all three factors.

Public Trust

The good news is public trust in the vaccine has increased since it has been made available. Across the board, the data showed a positive shift, with some segments expressing a significant change.

On average, we measured a 5-percentage point change for the better, from 56% to 61% in late February, in most categories. The demographic groups showing an above-average increase in the trust are:

  • 25-44-year-olds – 9 points(from 54% to 63%)
  • $30k-$50K income segment – 7 points (from 50% to 57%)
  • $50k -$75K income group – 6 points (from 58% to 64%)
  • Urbanites – 7 points (from 60% to 67%)
  • Suburbanites – 6 points (from 58% to 64%)

Women showed a six point rise in trust as compared to only three among men. Interestingly, the Hispanic community's response remained pretty much the same, with just a one-point uptick.

Confidence In Vaccine Safety And Effectiveness

On the whole, American's expressed more confidence in the vaccine's safety and effectiveness, with a nine-point overall increase.

There was a 14-point positive shift among women and a 10-point positive movement for men.

By area of residence, we saw some notable trends. The city and townsfolk seem to have built up more faith in the shot that has been available since mid-December. Our survey data showed that those in the rural communities have not budged from their earlier positions.

  • Urbanites (+15 points)
  • Suburbanites (+16 points)
  • Rural – no change at all

More Whites (+12 points) and Blacks (+15 points) now express more confidence that the vaccine will do the job. But, Hispanics showed relatively muted change (+10 points).

The income brackets also seem to show significant differences in their approach to the vaccine. Those among them expressing more confidence in its effectiveness and safety are:

  • Under $30K (+5 points)
  • $30K-$50K (+7 points)
  • $50K-$75K (+16 points), and
  • $75K+ (+10 points)

The 75K+ demographic also showed the most confidence in the vaccine's effectiveness, with 80% expressing their positive outlook, an increase of 10 points.

Vaccination Status

In the three months since the vaccine was made available to the public in the US,

  • 28% has had one or more shot
  • 46% are waiting
  • 26% don't plan to.

It's encouraging to see that 44 percent of the seniors who responded to our survey were vaccinated. Based on age groups, the data on those who have received one or more shot of the vaccine are:

  • 44% of Seniors
  • 18% of 45-64 age group
  • 33% of 25-44, and
  • 16% of those in the 18-24 age group

Resistance To Vaccination

Despite a significant improvement in acceptance, widespread resistance persists.

While approximately 40% of all survey segments are awaiting their vaccine, a sizable proportion does not plan to be immunized.

Many people are still skeptical about the pandemic's severity or the vaccine's safety and efficacy.

The high percentage of people who refuse to get vaccinated is worrying – more than a quarter of the population, except for those 65 and older falls into this category.

  • 39% of the 18-24 age group
  • 26% of those in 25-44 years
  • 29% among the 45-64 age group, and
  • 14% of the senior citizens.

It is troubling to note that nearly one-third (32%) of the women who took part in the survey said they do not plan to get vaccinated, as did 19% of the men.

Resistance to the vaccine is highest among Blacks at 37%, trailed by Hispanics at 25% and 23% of the Whites.

Curiously, the Northeast and West show more acceptance of the vaccine than other regions. Only two in ten (21%) don't plan to get the vaccine, while in the South, one-third (32%) do not have plans.

People's incomes also seem to factor into their acceptance of/resistance to the vaccine.

Among the under $30K bracket:

  • 17% only have had at least one shot of the vaccine
  • 46% are waiting for the second shot, while
  • 38% do not plan to get vaccinated.

At the same time, among those with $75K+ income,

  • 43% have already had at least one shot of the vaccine
  • 43% are waiting for their turn, and
  • 13% only do not plan to get vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been a shot in the arm for the health sector, the economy, and peoples' morale. Our data shows that most of the population will avail themselves of it as the vaccine becomes more readily available in the coming days. Here's to hoping that the end of the pandemic is in sight.


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