The racial gap in COVID-19 vaccination is narrowing, with black adults now just as likely as white adults to say they have been vaccinated.
According to a new Pew Research Center survey, 70 percent of black adults and 72 percent of white adults have received at least one dose.
Pew’s research found that white evangelical Protestants and those without health insurance were the most likely to remain unvaccinated.
And Republicans were much less likely to get vaccinated than Democrats.
The same survey found that 60 percent of Americans said they agreed with the statement, “People who choose not to get a Covid vaccine are hurting the country.”
The findings indicate that, despite continued polarization, the majority of Americans are on the same page about vaccines and other Covid precautions.
The racial gap in COVID-19 vaccinations is narrowing, a new Pew Research Center survey shows. Pictured: A Florida high school vaccination clinic, September 2021
About 70 percent of both black and white adults have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine – closing a previous gap – Pew’s study found
Earlier in the rollout of vaccinations, many public health experts expressed concern about a marked difference in vaccination rates.
Black Americans seemed to be less likely to get vaccinated than white Americans.
Experts pointed to vaccine hesitancy in this population, as black Americans are more likely to mistrust the U.S. medical system because of historic events such as the Tuskegee syphilis study but also current experiences.
White Americans also had greater access to vaccines in early 2021 as older adults were prioritized early in the rollout.
Life expectancy among white adults tends to be higher than life expectancy among black adults.
In addition, white Americans are often overrepresented in the health care professions — another group prioritized for vaccine access in early 2021.
However, as vaccine rollouts continue, the dynamics have shifted.
Later in the spring and summer, white Americans were vaccinated at lower rates as more black Americans sought their shot.
Men and women have similar vaccination rates (left) while older adults are vaccinated more often than younger adults (right)
Republicans are much less likely to be vaccinated than Democrats (left). White Evangelical Protestants Are Least Likely To Be Vaccinated (Right)
New poll data from the Pew Research Center underscore this closing vaccine gap.
The data is based on a survey of more than 10,000 U.S. adults conducted between August 23 and August 29, 2021.
Pew researchers designed the survey to be representative of the U.S. population based on gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation and other demographic characteristics.
Overall, the survey found that 73 percent of American adults said they had received at least one vaccine dose.
This corresponds to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who say 76 percent of adults have received at least one dose and 65 percent have been fully vaccinated as of Sept. 15.
The study revealed similar vaccination rates among black and white adults: 70 percent of black adults and 72 percent of white adults reported receiving at least one vaccine dose.
That is much lower than the rates reported earlier in 2021.
In July, a KFF analysis found that “less than half of black and Hispanic people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in nearly all states reporting data.”
Many Americans – including those who have been vaccinated – expressed reservations about the vaccines, although the majority agreed that they are important for protection
In addition, the Pew Research Center survey found that white evangelical Protestants and those without health insurance were the least likely to be vaccinated.
In both groups, only 57 percent of respondents reported receiving a vaccine dose.
Republicans are also much less likely to be vaccinated than Democrats, Pew discovered.
While 86 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leading Independents have received at least one vaccine dose, only 60 percent of Republicans and Republican Independents reported vaccination.
Overall, 60 percent of those surveyed said they agreed with the statement, “people who choose not to get a Covid vaccine are hurting the country.”
The majority of respondents also agreed with some degree of vaccination requirement for public places.
About 61 percent said they supported a vaccination requirement for airplane travel, while 57 percent supported a requirement to attend college in person and 56 percent supported a requirement for sporting events and concerts.
Majority of adults prefer vaccination requirements for public institutions such as air travel, university classes and sporting events
Lower numbers supported vaccine requirements for indoor eating and shopping – 50 percent for dining and 45 percent for entering stores and businesses.
Still, many of the survey respondents expressed concerns about the vaccines — including those who chose to get their injections.
Just over half of respondents said they felt there was “too much pressure on Americans to get a Covid vaccine.” Of the unvaccinated respondents, 88 percent agreed with that statement.
A higher number — 61 percent — said they believe we don’t yet know all the potential health risks of the vaccines.
Majority of Americans said Covid restrictions were worth the cost
The Pew survey also found some agreement on other Covid precautions.
For example, a significant majority of Americans said Covid restrictions have harmed businesses and economic activity — 69 percent — and prevented people from living their lives the way they want to — 58 percent.
But a majority – 62 percent – also said the public health benefits of these restrictions were worth it, as these benefits slowed the spread of the coronavirus.
These research findings indicate that, despite increased polarization about vaccinations and other safety measures, the majority of Americans still support basic measures to stop the spread of the virus.
In addition, the authors of the Pew report noted that, “Despite widespread vaccination efforts, 54 percent of American adults say the worst of the outbreak is yet to come.”