Survey: Communities of color increasingly willing to be vaccinated

It has long been noted that communities of color — communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic — have been slow to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

A new study indicates that may be changing.

New polling of New Jersey voters conducted by Change Research and commissioned by Newark-based nonprofit Project Ready finds that significant gains have been made when it comes to increasing Black and Hispanic voters’ willingness to be vaccinated.

The share of Black voters willing to be vaccinated increased from 62% in February to 69% in May, while 83% of Hispanic voters say they will be vaccinated, compared with 77% in February.

In addition, in light of vaccines now being available for children 12 and older, Black (54%) and Hispanic (59%) parents of middle and high school students are more likely to say they will vaccinate their children than white parents (39%).

Project Ready Executive Director Shennell McCloud said the polling shows a growing level of trust in Black and brown communities.

“Even as they remain far less likely to already be vaccinated, communities of color are becoming increasingly comfortable with receiving the COVID-19 vaccines, and that’s a credit to the leaders across New Jersey whose outreach is showing early results,” she said.

“The two biggest reasons cited by those who haven’t been vaccinated are side effects and trust in government, suggesting that government and public health officials must continue to work directly with people to build trust and deliver vaccines to their neighborhoods from providers they trust.”

University Hospital CEO Shereef Elnahal said the data shows the state is on the right track.

“This survey data demonstrates the significant progress we’ve made as a state in educating people about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in communities of color,” he said. “However, it also shows how much work we have to do to continue to get people vaccinated, so that every community is protected from the virus.  We are committed here at University Hospital to redouble our efforts at this critical time.”

The most common reasons cited for not getting the vaccine include:

  • Concerns about side effects (43%);
  • Don’t trust the government (43%);
  • Don’t think I need it (38%);
  • Concerns about a rushed timeline (36%);
  • Want to wait to confirm it is safe (32%).

Methodology: The polling was conducted online from May 15-20, 2021. Using its Dynamic Online Sampling technology and SMS text messaging to attain a sample reflective of registered voters, Change Research polled 1,215 people in the state of New Jersey. This includes an oversample of 343 voters in the city of Newark. Post-stratification weights were made on age, gender, political region, education, 2020 vote and race and ethnicity to reflect the distribution of voters statewide.

All polls are subject to errors caused by interviewing a sample of persons, rather than the entire population. In 95 cases out of 100, the responses to this survey should be within plus or minus 3.9 percentage points of those that would have been obtained from interviewing the entire population of likely voters. The sampling error for subgroups of the survey will be greater.