Despite herculean efforts to obtain more COVID-19 vaccines and distribute them as quickly as possible, one of every five Utahns who have yet to be inoculated say they definitely or probably will not get a shot themselves.
Their reasons vary from not trusting the government to not believing vaccines are effective, worrying about side effects to wanting to wait to see if it is safe. Some altruistic folk say they believe others need the vaccines more than themselves.
That’s according to polling conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau from Jan. 6-18. It is part of ongoing surveys conducted in every state to measure the health, economic and other effects of the pandemic.
The findings come as officials have urged Utahns to be vaccinated when possible. They say the quicker people are inoculated the faster the state can achieve herd immunity and return more to normal. They also have said the vaccines are relatively safe and worth any small risk they pose to avoid COVID-19.
In Utah, the survey found that 52.3% of yet-to-be vaccinated resident said they “definitely” plan to receive the vaccine. Utah ranked No. 22 among the states in that category, and a bit above the national average 0f 50.9%. Another 26% said they “probably” will get a shot.
However, 8% said they “definitely” will not. Another 13% said they “probably” will not. So overall, 21% of Utahns yet to be vaccinated say they probably or definitely will skip the shots.
Researchers have estimated that about 75% of the population needs to acquire immunity to the virus — either from vaccines or by surviving the disease — in order to halt transmission and achieve herd immunity. So Utah would be above that level if these results bear out.
Some groups reported in the survey that they are more likely than others to avoid the vaccine.
The older the respondents were, the more likely they were to want the vaccine. For example, about 73% of Utahns age 65 and older say they definitely plan to get a shot. But only 40% of those between ages 18 and 24 do.
The more education a respondent reported the more likely they were to want a shot.
The poll showed that 63% of Utahns who have at least a bachelor’s degree definitely plan to receive one, while only 31% of those with less than a high school education do.
Different races reported different level of interest in receiving the vaccine. Asians in Utah had the highest percentage of people saying they definitely plan to get the vaccine, 68%. That number was 55% for Hispanics, 54% for whites and just 19% for Blacks.
The poll allowed people to list one or several reasons why they did not plan to obtain a vaccine. Some of the top reasons included:
• 49% said they were concerned about possible side effects.
• 48% said they plan to wait to see if it is safe.
• 35% said other people need it more right now.
• 19% said they don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines.
• 19% said they don’t know if a vaccine will work.
• 17% said they don’t trust the government.
• 17% said they don’t believe they need a vaccine.
• 9% said they don’t like vaccines.
The survey interviewed 2,085 Utah residents. The Census Bureau said results for the overall group are considered accurate with a margin of error of 3 percentage points, plus or minus. Subsets, such as by age, race and education, have higher margins of error and vary.