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Health, Science & Tech

New Poll Finds A Quarter Of Pennsylvanians Don’t Want A COVID-19 Vaccine

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Political affiliation, age, income, education level, and race are all factors that could play into a person’s decision to get vaccinated, according to a new study from Penn State Harrisburg Center for Survey Research.

Of the 1,044 people polled, 25 percent say they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Hesitancy is higher in rural communities, particularly in the south-central region of the state – with over one-third of respondents saying they do not want the shot.

Also, survey results show young people are more likely to say they will pass on the vaccine. Nearly one-third of respondents between ages 18 and 34 said they don’t want to get the jab, compared to 13 percent of those 65 and older.

Tom Servinsky, project manager for the survey, says misinformation has played a major role in making people skeptical.

“The important piece will be to identify vaccine hesitant groups, look at their reasons for hesitancy and to develop a targeted messaging campaigns that address the concerns of the individual communities,” he said.

Servinsky said primary care doctors are often the best messenger for skeptical patients. The Biden Administration has been working to get more doses in doctors’ offices for those less inclined to go elsewhere, such as to a mass vaccination clinic.

Black and Hispanic respondents showed higher levels of skepticism – with about 35 percent of those surveyed saying they probably won’t get vaccinated. That’s compared to 24 percent of White respondents.

“We have already seen communities of color disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” Servinsky said. “Lower vaccination rates among these communities could reinforce these existing imbalances.”

The pollsters used a quota-based invitation system to produce a data set that represents the state’s population by region, age, sex, and other categories. The survey’s margin of error was +/- 3 percent.

Public health experts expect between 70 to 80 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated before herd immunity can be reached.

Over 53 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And nearly 47 percent of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated.