New Polling Demonstrates The Need For Additional Education On The Value Of COVID-19 Vaccination
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — New polling on Missourians’ attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination represents the significant work ahead in educating citizens about the individual and collective value of receiving the vaccine. The research finds that only 58% of Missourians are very or somewhat likely to seek the vaccine immediately when it becomes available to the public.
“Broad vaccination is the key to response and recovery in Missouri,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA President and CEO. “Although the vaccine is not available to the public currently, it will be essential to have an informed, confident and energized public as we move into the widespread distribution phase of vaccination efforts.”
The research, conducted by American Viewpoint in the first week of January, surveyed a diverse cross-section of 800 Missouri adult voters. Presently, Missouri is vaccinating Phase 1A priority individuals, which includes front-line health care providers and caregivers, and residents of nursing facilities. However, depending on the volume of vaccine distributed from pharmaceutical manufacturers to Missouri in the weeks ahead, public vaccination efforts could begin in the very near future.
“Expanded immunity to COVID-19 will take significant pressure off the health care system,” said Jon Doolittle, President of Mosaic Medical Center – Albany and 2021 MHA Board Chair. “The public’s willingness to be vaccinated will determine how quickly we can suppress transmission.”
The survey found a bright spot in responses from Missouri seniors. According to researchers, 60% of seniors are very likely to get the vaccine, with 58% likely to get it as soon as it is available. Seniors are a priority group in the state’s vaccination plan and will be among the Phase 1B recipients, along with first responders, essential workers and at-risk individuals.
More than 20% of survey participants indicated they would definitely not be getting the vaccine. Springfield and the St. Louis Collar counties are the two areas where adults are least likely to get the vaccine when it becomes available. Individuals identifying themselves as Republican or conservative were most likely to say they would not receive a vaccination.
“The vaccines arriving in Missouri have been through extensive clinical trials and have been further demonstrated to be safe and effective,” said Steven D. Edwards, President and CEO of CoxHealth in Springfield, Mo. “They are the tools we need to reduce the harm caused to Missourians’ health and to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you believe you are at low risk, please consider it your civic duty to be vaccinated. Protecting our fellow citizens can only happen with significant public support for vaccination.”
Researchers also inquired whether survey participants thought the vaccine would be distributed fairly. Seventy percent indicated that they were confident or somewhat confident that the process would be fair. Trust that the vaccine will be distributed fairly is lowest in the Kansas City metropolitan area, as well as St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis.
Skepticism of the likelihood of a fair distribution process was highest among African American participants at 42%. However, this community has solid interest in vaccination — yet with some hesitancy that mirrors their fairness concern — as nearly 40% indicate they would not seek or pursue vaccination. At 103 deaths per 100,000 residents, the rate of COVID-19-related deaths for African American Missourians is 1.9 times the rate for white Missourians and 1.4 times the rate for the entire state. Significant outreach to all communities of color — which already is underway — will be necessary to improve confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and the equity of distribution.
The two COVID-19 vaccines presently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and being distributed in Missouri are from the drug manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna. Both require an initial vaccination followed by a booster several weeks later. The vaccines have proven to have limited side effects in clinical trials and are both more than 95% effective in providing immunity to COVID-19 disease.
Missouri’s portal for COVID-19 vaccination information is www.covidvaccine.mo.gov.
The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association in Jefferson City that represents 140 Missouri hospitals. In addition to representation and advocacy on behalf of its membership, the association offers continuing education programs on current health care topics and seeks to educate the public about health care issues
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