According to the latest results from an ongoing national survey of attitudes about COVID-19, two-thirds (66%) of Americans say they are either “somewhat” or “extremely” likely to vaccinate themselves and their children against the novel coronavirus when such a vaccine becomes available.
Enthusiasm for a potential COVID-19 vaccine varied greatly across the states. Rates of those describing themselves as “somewhat” or “extremely” likely to vaccinate fell below 60% in 11 states mostly in the South and Mountain West regions, while they exceeded 70% in 11 states across varied regions of the country. Likewise, partisanship plays a role in enthusiasm for a vaccine: 62% of Republicans say they would be likely to seek vaccination, compared with 75% of Democrats.
The researchers, part of a consortium of four universities conducting, “The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States,” which includes Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern and Rutgers, also discovered racial disparities in vaccination likelihood.
“One of the most notable findings is the racial disparity with African-Americans reporting substantially lower likelihoods of being vaccinated,” said James Druckman, the Payson S. Wild Professor of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern and associate director of the University’s Institute for Policy Research. “Given the disproportional effect the virus has had on African-Americans, this is an important gap to consider moving forward.”
When it comes to vaccinations, the disparity is due to attitudes, not outcomes, according to the report. While 67% of Whites, 71% of Hispanics and 77% of Asian American respondents say they were likely to vaccinate, just 52% of African-American respondents said the same. Respondents with lower levels of education, and lower incomes, also said they were less likely to seek a vaccine.
In addition, a recently released report by the COVID-19 Consortium found that Americans are waiting four days on average to find out the results of COVID-19 nasal swab tests, according to survey results collected between July 10and 26. This is double the ideal amount of time of one to two days for effective contact tracing of COVID-19 cases.
“This is an unfortunate reflection of the system being overloaded, since after a certain number of days, receiving the test result becomes less useful,” Druckman said.
Despite 37% of test results being received within two days, 31% took longer than four days, and 10% were not available until 10 days or later. The results show that the averages are similar across states, highlighting the national scope of the lengthy wait times. Only six states – Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington – had an average wait time of only two days. Eleven states and the District of Columbia had average wait times clocking in at more than three days, with the remaining 33 states waiting three days on average for test results.
Other key findings of the latest two waves of the survey include:
- For those likely to vaccinate, 62% identify the need to protect themselves and their families as a motivation, 45% cite protecting people in their community and 59% identify recommendations of medical professionals.
- Among those with the least trust in President Donald Trump, 72% were likely to seek vaccination, while among those with the greatest trust, 61% were likely to seek vaccination.
- Both young adults (18-24) and older adults (65+) more often say they would be likely to be vaccinated, at 71% and 73% respectively, than those ages 25-44 and 45-64 (63% and 64%, respectively).
- Most people, or 63%, are not getting results with the one to two days that would be optimal to do contact tracing.
- A substantial minority of individuals, or 21%, are receiving test results too late to be an assistance in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- The long wait times are national in scope, with most states reporting an average wait time of three days or more.
- The states with the longest wait times, more than three days on average, were Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, in addition to the District of Columbia.
More than 19,000 Americans participated in each wave of the nationally representative survey that is supported by the National Science Foundation.