Half of Kentucky adults who are reluctant to take the COVID-19 vaccine are open to changing their minds if they had more information. That’s according to a Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Poll on Vaccines in Kentucky. Overall, 71 percent of Kentuckians had already received or intended to get the vaccine at the time of the poll.
“We’ve really got a shot at achieving herd immunity here in Kentucky,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “I’m encouraged that vaccine-hesitant people are willing to consider additional information about the vaccines. That’s why our current PSAs directly address common questions and concerns about the vaccines and respond clearly with scientific evidence.”
Public health leaders estimate that 70 to 85 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated before herd immunity is achieved. “The more contagious a disease, the higher the percentage it takes to reach herd immunity. The coronavirus is highly contagious; but, if we can reach the Kentuckians who are reluctant to get a COVID vaccine with facts and data, and half of them decide to get vaccinated, our Commonwealth would be in a much stronger position when it comes to herd immunity,” Chandler said.
The 29 percent of Kentuckians who said they would probably not or definitely not get the shot were more likely to be male, Republican, and live in suburban or rural communities.
One in three men (34 percent), four in ten Republicans (43 percent), and one-third of people living in suburban or rural communities (35 percent and 34 percent, respectively) reported they would probably not or definitely not get the vaccine.
By contrast, 76 percent of women, 87 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Independents, and 80 percent of those living in an urban area already had or intended to take the vaccine.
Of those reluctant to get the vaccine, people open to changing their mind in time, and with additional information, included large proportions of Republicans, those living in suburban or rural communities, and high school graduates (Republicans – 47 percent, suburban counties – 50 percent, rural counties – 53 percent, high school graduates – 53 percent).
“We’re in a race against increasingly potent variations of the virus,” said Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, Foundation Board Chair and health equity expert. “The nature of viruses is to change, and mutant strains are already circulating within Kentucky’s population. The vaccines give you a level of protection from the mutant strains by reducing serious complications that could lead to death.”