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Racial, income disparity in COVID vaccine, Stockton poll finds

A majority of racial and ethnic minorities and lower-income residents of New Jersey want a COVID-19 vaccine, but report getting vaccinated at half the rates of white and more affluent residents of the state, according to a Stockton University Poll released today.
At least 80 percent of all respondents see the virus as a major concern and are at least somewhat concerned they will catch it.
Two-thirds said they would definitely or probably be vaccinated when they can.
However, the poll of 740 New Jersey adults showed non-Hispanic, white and wealthier respondents reported receiving at least one vaccine dose at nearly double the rates of minorities and poorer state residents.
For example, 16 percent of Black respondents had received a vaccine dose compared to 30 percent of Whites.
Also, 14 percent of Hispanic respondents got their first dose compared to 27 percent of non-Hispanics of any race.
When looking at income, only 15 percent of respondents with a household income of less than $50,000 had gotten their first dose, while 37 percent of those making more than $100,000 in household income have been vaccinated.
The poll was conducted by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University by live callers from the Stockton campus from Feb. 22-March 5.
“These findings reflect inequity in how the virus and the vaccination process are affecting people of color and lower-income populations in New Jersey,” said John Froonjian, director of the Hughes Center. “Black, Hispanic and lower-income residents are just as worried about COVID and are as eager to be vaccinated as the rest of the population. But they are waiting longer to get access to the vaccine, and more of them are getting sick.”
About one in five were not concerned about catching the coronavirus, and 30 percent said they would probably or definitely not be vaccinated.
Major reasons cited for vaccine hesitancy included: fears about safety or side effects (34%), concern the vaccine was rushed (13%) and wanting to see how others are affected first (12%). One in five said they think the vaccine is unnecessary or identify as anti-vaccine.
A majority of Republicans said they not likely to get the vaccine at 52 percent, while only 15 percent of Democrats won’t get it.
Republicans are also more likely to engage in behavior labeled as risky by public health officials. Between 40 percent and 50 percent of Republicans feel comfortable visiting people in their homes, eating at indoor restaurants and being in large crowds, all several times the rates of Democrats comfortable with such activity.
Alyssa Maurice, research associate for the Hughes Center, noted that overall people are most comfortable going to the grocery store and seeing a doctor but less so eating in restaurants and being in crowds.
Eight-five percent say they regularly wear masks, and 59 percent wash hands often.
Less than half take care to socially distance, at 48 percent, and 37 percent avoid crowds.
Just less than half have made or are trying to make a vaccine appointment.
At least 72 percent said they were not able to schedule an appointment.
Of those who have been vaccinated, 90 percent described it as a positive experience, and 95 percent expect to continue wearing masks after being vaccinated.

Other findings of the Stockton Poll include:

  • 59 percent support opening schools for in-person learning now, while 27 percent oppose it and 13 percent are unsure
  • 65 percent would get an annual coronavirus shot if recommended, and 11 percent said they might
  • 77 percent trust the vaccines to be safe and effective, while 17 percent do not
  • More people trust the medical industry to act in their best interests than the government:  77 percent for medicine and 54 percent for government.

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