As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out, hundreds of thousands of Texans are lining up to get them. But a large number are not so anxious to take the shot. A new survey from the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs finds nearly one-third of Texans (32%) say they "probably" or "definitely" will NOT get the vaccine. "That number is important, because most experts say that in order to achieve herd immunity, you need to have between 70 to 90 percent of the population vaccinated," says Renèe Cross, Director of the Hobby School. More than half of respondents said they "definitely" or "probably" WILL get the shot, while 9% have not decided.
Among those who probably or definitely won't get the vaccine, the biggest reason was uncertainty. "People feel that the vaccine is just too new, and folks want to wait and see how it works for other people," says Cross. "Beyond that, a lot of Texans just have a lack of trust in government, and in the pharmaceutical companies to make sure that the vaccine is safe."
The survey results also broke sharply along party lines. "Democrats were much more likely to say they will get vaccinated, in contrast to Republicans who are much less likely to become vaccinated," says Cross. Indeed, Democrats were more than twice as likely to say they will get vaccinated than Republicans (53% to 33%).
Cross notes that we're still less than two months into vaccinations, so it's likely these attitudes will soften over time. "A lot of people just didn't want to be the first ones in, but I think as time goes on that more people will be more likely to get it, especially when people have easier access to it," she tells KTRH.
"However, I do think we need to launch a strong educational campaign about why it's so important to receive the vaccine."