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Survey: More Than 20% Of Southwestern Pennsylvanians Say They Won't Get the COVID Vaccine

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
An educator receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Heinz Field on Thursday, March 11, 2021.

A recent 90.5 WESA/Campos survey found that nearly 70% of southwestern Pennsylvanians said they have received or are scheduled to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Researchers sampled 704 people who live in the 10 counties that comprise the southwest corner of the state. Nearly half of the respondents come from Allegheny County, which has the largest population in the region.

The survey also found that more than 20% of respondents say they do not want to get the vaccine, and that people who feel this way were three times as likely to not have a bachelor’s degree.

The majority of vaccine hesitant respondents say they aren’t getting the vaccine because they think it will negatively impact their health. Nearly a third of respondents say they don’t trust those who provide the vaccine, or don’t think it would be effective.

Early in the vaccine rollout there was concern that Black communities would be more vaccine hesitant than whites due mistrust sown by systemic racism in medicine. But the survey found that Black and white respondents have similar rates of interest in the vaccine. However, whites are nearly twice as likely as Blacks to be fully vaccinated. Experts say this disparity is due to inequitable access to health care, and not vaccine hesitancy.

The 90.5 WESA/Campos COVID Insights Study examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the greater Pittsburgh region, and was funded by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. It included residents of Allegheny, Lawrence, Beaver, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana, Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette and Greene counties.

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.