FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Rachael Dempsey
For Public Policy Polling:
CONTACT: Jim Williams
Healthcare Georgia Foundation Releases Findings from Statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Poll
Atlanta, GA – March 29, 2021 — During January 2021, Healthcare Georgia Foundation partnered with Public Policy Polling to conduct a statewide public opinion survey among 1,379 Georgia voters on their perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine. Results suggest the COVID-19 vaccine administration is likely to go down the same path in terms of COVID-19 testing inequalities. In addition, the survey finds that a majority of Georgia voters (58%) are likely to get the coronavirus vaccine, with a plurality (45%) saying they would definitely get the vaccine if it were available to them now and a further 13% saying they would probably get the vaccine. Just 22% say they would definitely not get the vaccine.
Georgia voters express confidence in the vaccine’s research and development process, with 63% saying they have at least a fair amount of confidence that the process has produced vaccines that are safe and effective. Of these voters, 31% say they have a great deal of confidence and 32% say they have a fair amount of confidence in the process. While there is some overall uncertainty of the FDA-approved vaccines, voters largely view them as safe and effective.
- 49% of voters think the FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines are safe, while just 23% do not think they are safe and 28% are unsure.
- 44% think the FDA-approved vaccines are effective, while only 19% do not think they are effective. Another 38% of voters are unsure.
Georgia voters are more divided and skeptical on a potential coronavirus vaccine for children. When parents of children under the age of 18 are asked how likely they would be to get a vaccine for their child when it becomes available, 51% say they are not likely and 45% say they are likely to get it for their child.
Looking more closely at individual age groups, there is variation in confidence and likelihood to get the coronavirus vaccine:
- Older Georgia voters, who are affected more severely by the coronavirus, are largely accepting of the vaccine. A large majority (78%) of voters over the age of 65 would definitely or probably get the vaccine if it was available today, compared to 64% of Georgians aged 18 to 29, 47% of those aged 30 to 45, and 53% of those aged 46 to 65.
- A further 64% of voters over the age of 65 think the coronavirus vaccines are safe, as opposed to just 14% who think they are not safe. Similarly, 58% think they are effective while only 10% think they are not effective. This is a larger percentage point difference compared to the other age groups: just 47% of voters aged 18 to 29, 41% of voters aged 30 to 45, and 37% of voters aged 46 to 65 think the vaccines are effective.
- A larger percentage of respondents with 4-year college or post-graduate degrees think coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective. Those with a 4-year college degree think they are safe by a 49-point margin (61-12) and effective by a 45-point margin (52-7). Meanwhile, voters with a post-graduate degree think vaccines are safe by a 56-point margin (67-11) and effective by a 54-point margin (62-8). These margins are much higher than the base margins, which are 26 and 25 points for vaccine safety and vaccine effectiveness, respectively.
Education and messaging stressing the importance of safety and effectiveness is key for many groups who are skeptical about taking the vaccine, either for themselves or for their children.
- A majority (59%) of rural voters are not likely to vaccinate their child, but 53% say they are likely to get the vaccine themselves. This compares to 59% of urban voters, and 61% of suburban voters. A large concern for rural voters is safety and effectiveness, with only 40% viewing the vaccines as safe (compared to 54% of urban voters, and 52% of suburban voters) and 38% viewing them as effective (while 45% of urban and 46% of suburban voters say the same).
- Rural voters do not appear to view access to a pharmacy or other vaccine distribution points as a major barrier, with just 45% saying they would be less likely to get the vaccine if there were no distribution points nearby, while 40% of urban voters and 42% of suburban voters say the same. However, rural voters report an out-of-pocket cost as being more of an issue than other groups, with 54% saying they would be less likely to get the vaccine if there were an out-of-pocket cost. This compares to just 42% of urban voters and 41% of suburban voters.
- Rural voters also express less confidence in the vaccine approval process being free from political influence. Just 33% are confident that the approval process will not be politically influenced, while 45% of urban and 49% of suburban voters are confident about this process.
- Respondents who identify as Hispanic or Latino are more likely to be skeptical about the safety and effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines and thus are less likely to vaccinate themselves or their children than other racial/ethnic groups. 37% of Hispanic or Latino voters think coronavirus vaccines are not safe, while an additional 42% think they are not effective. A majority (52%) say they have either not too much or no confidence at all that coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective. As a result, 50% say they are not likely at all to get their child vaccinated, and 53% would probably not or definitely not get the vaccine themselves if it was available today.
- Black voters are less sure about the vaccine’s safety than other racial/ethnic groups, with 36% reporting that they are unsure if the vaccine is safe or not. This compares to 28% of Hispanic and Latino voters, 24% of white voters, and 23% of Asian voters. However, a plurality (43%) still view the vaccines as safe, while just 20% do not think they are safe. A majority (56%) also say they are likely to get the vaccine for themselves, but 67% list safety concerns as a major concern and 61% say they want to know more about the vaccine’s effectiveness.
- Voters who identify as Asian are more confident in the coronavirus vaccines: 73% think they are safe and 68% think they are effective; only 5% think they are either not safe or not effective. Almost all Asian respondents (92%) say they are very likely to get their child vaccinated, while 74% say they themselves would definitely get the vaccine.
The results of this survey reveal a divided Georgia; in terms of differences across age, race and ethnicity, education, geography, and political affiliation. To combat misinformation about the vaccine’s safety, effectiveness, and to shed light on the benefits of receiving the vaccine, a multi-faceted and rigorous public health education campaign is needed that carefully considers the message and the messenger. The current dilemma of vaccine acceptance is not a new problem, and the reluctance of some populations are guided by a history of mistrust. The underfunding of public health may also be a consequence of how little education regarding the vaccine is occurring right now.
The results of this polling effort also confirm the need for data – without data, we run the risk of inequalities across the spectrum of the virus, including hospitalization rates, mortality rates, testing rates, and vaccination rates. To understand the impact of COVID-19 we need to understand how important the data is in identifying health inequities. This data will help us understand why people are hesitant to get the vaccine and what should be considered or included to implement an effective strategy in terms of messaging.
It should be noted that this poll indicates the majority of Georgia voters (58%) are likely to get the coronavirus vaccine, which is not a bad starting place. Beyond the scope of this release, Healthcare Georgia Foundation will call attention to additional data that further explores other demographic response findings.
Methodology: Public Policy Polling surveyed 1,379 Georgia voters from January 26-28, 2021. The margin of error is +/- 2.6%. 31% of interviews for the survey were conducted by telephone and 69% by text message.
About Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, charitable organization with a vision of health equity in Georgia where all people attain their fullest potential for health and well-being. Through strategic grantmaking, our mission is to enable, improve, and advance the health and well-being of all Georgians. For more information, visit healthcaregeorgia.org.