Who Are the COVID-19 Unvaccinated and Why Are They Unvaccinated?

We repeatedly hear from pubic health officials, those that we elect to represent us in government and the mainstream media that there are a significant percentage of people who are vaccine hesitant when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines.  A recent study by Dr. Wendy King et al entitled "Time trends and factors related to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy from January – May 2021 among US adults: Findings from a large-scale national survey" was undertaken to better understand which Americans are COVID-19 vaccine hesitant and why they have taken that stance.  Let's look at what the survey discovered.

Between January 6, 2021 and May 31, 2021, the authors used an online survey which was completed by 5,121,436 adults. Participants were asked if they had received the COVID-19 vaccine and, if not, "If a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 were offered to you today, would you choose to get vaccinated?".  Participants were considered vaccine hesitant if they answered that they probably or definitely would not choose to get vaccinated and were considered not hesitant if they had already received the COVID-19 vaccine to reduce bias from differential access to a COVID-19 vaccine over the timeframe of the study (i.e. as the rollout took place, more people had access to the vaccines).  Percentages were plotted by month and first to last month differences were calculated.  

Here is a breakdown of the demographic characteristics of the participants:

Median age – 55 to 64 years

Male 45 percent

Female 52.6 percent

Nonbinary – 1.1 percent

White – 68.5 percent

Black 6.5 percent

Hispanic – 16.7 percent

Asian – 3.6 percent

Less than high school education – 22.5 percent

Four year college degree or higher – 41.2 percent

Work for pay – 55.7 percent

Work outside the home – 43.2 percent

Let's look at what the authors found.  Overall vaccine hesitancy decreased each month with a one-third decrease from 25.7 percent in January 2021 to 17.1 percent in May.  The decrease in the "probably not" group was 7.0 percentage points over the timeframe of the study compared to a decrease of only 1.6 percentage points in the "definitely not" group showing that this group is more intransigent about their views on the COVID-19 vaccines.

Let's look at how demographic characteristics impacted vaccine hesitancy for May 2021:

Gender – female participants were less hesitant at 13.2 percent in than male participants at 16.6 percent.

Age – younger participants were generally more hesitant that older participants with 22.9 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 14 years being hesitant compared to 8.2 percent of adults between the ages of 65 and 74 years.

Educational Attainment – followed a U-shaped curve with highest hesitancy among those with less than a high school education and those with a PhD; among participants with a PhD, hesitancy remained quite consistent over the timeframe of the study at 23.9 percent in May 2021.  Participants with a Master's degree were the least hesitant throughout the timeframe of the study.

Race – Native Americans were the most hesitant at 25.3 percent followed by whites at 15.8 percent, Pacific Islanders at 13.9 percent and Hispanics at 13.4 percent.

Political Leaning – participants living in a state with a Republican governor tended to be more hesitant at 19.2 percent than those participants living in a state with a Democratic governor at 14.4 percent.  Participants who lived in a county with a higher Trump vote share tended to be more hesitant than those participants living in a county with a lower Trump vote share.

Now, let's look at the reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and the percentage of participants who were either definitely or probably not going to be vaccinated who held those beliefs:

Concern about side effects – 49.2 percent

Don't trust COVID-19 vaccines – 49.1 percent

Don't trust the government – 42.7 percent

Don't believe that I need it – 39.0 percent

Plan to wait and see if vaccines are safe – 34.0 percent

Concerned about an allergic reaction – 24.2 percent

Don't know if the vaccines will work – 22.5 percent

Don't like vaccines – 15.5 percent

Other people need it more – 13.0 percent

Safety concern because of my health condition – 12.6 percent

Doctor has not recommended – 10 percent

Against religious beliefs – 9.3 percent

Let's close this posting.  It is interesting to see who the COVID-19 vaccine-resistant Americans are and their reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitance.  While the government and the mainstream media love to paint these individuals as "dangerous antivaxxers", in fact, it is largely a matter of trust in these particular vaccines and the government that is promoting them that is the issue.  Perhaps if governments, the legacy media and Big Pharma were more upfront about the real world safety of the vaccines and the odds of having a severe adverse reaction, those who are hesitant may rethink their hesitancy although in many cases, the concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines are set in stone.

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