As Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expands, Interest Could Wane

People lined up to get the Covid-19 vaccine at the new FEMA site at Miami-Dade College in Miami on March 3.



Photo:

cristobal herrera-ulashkevich/Shutterstock

The first months of vaccine distribution have largely been targeted at populations that have shown the most willingness to receive it. Distribution plans differ from state to state, but most gave priority to older Americans in the early phases of the rollout. But as eligibility expands to encompass younger age groups, a continuing Census Bureau survey suggests uptake may slow.

The data come from a survey conducted by the Census Bureau and developed in concert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics. The latest release gauged responses from nearly 80,000 adults between Feb. 3 and Feb. 15.

Overall, the percentage of Americans saying they will definitely get a vaccine has ticked up. But willingness among younger adults is still well below that of older Americans.

The latest Census survey shows nearly 40% of those

65 and older

say they have already received at least one dose—about 21 million people.

Of those who haven’t been vaccinated, seven in 10 say they will.

That leaves 34 million more who would have yet to be vaccinated.

That would result in about 83% of this population vaccinated—probably enough for herd immunity if they were the only people in the community.

The latest Census survey shows nearly 40% of those

65 and older

say they have already received at least one dose—about 21 million people.

Of those who haven’t been vaccinated, seven in 10 say they will.

That leaves 34 million more who would have yet to be vaccinated.

That would result in about 83% of this population vaccinated—probably enough for herd immunity if they were the only people in the community.

The latest Census survey shows nearly 40% of those

65 and older

say they have already received at least one dose—about 21 million people.

Of those who haven’t been vaccinated, seven in 10 say they will.

That leaves 34 million more who would have yet to be vaccinated.

That would result in about 83% of this population vaccinated—probably enough for herd immunity if they were the only people in the community.

The latest Census survey shows nearly 40% of those

65 and older

say they have already received at least one dose—about 21 million people.

That leaves 34 million more who would have yet to be vaccinated.

Of those who haven’t been vaccinated, seven in 10 say they will.

That would result in about 83% of this population vaccinated—probably enough for herd immunity if they were the only people in the community.

But younger groups are less willing to get vaccinated. Among those

age 40-64,

only about 16% have already been vaccinated.

And of those who haven’t, just over half say they will.

That would give a total vaccination rate among that group of 61%.

But younger groups are less willing to get vaccinated. Among those

age 40-64,

only about 16% have already been vaccinated.

And of those who haven’t, just over half say they will.

That would give a total vaccination rate among that group of 61%.

And of those who haven’t, just over half say they will.

But younger groups are less willing to get vaccinated. Among those

age 40-64,

only about 16% have already been vaccinated.

That would give a total vaccination rate among that group of 61%.

But younger groups are less willing to get vaccinated. Among those

age 40-64,

only about 16% have already been vaccinated.

And of those who haven’t, just over half say they will.

That would give a total vaccination rate among that group of 61%.

…with less than half of the remaining ones saying they will.

And for the youngest adults,

age 18-39,

only 12% have received a vaccine…

That would produce a total vaccination rate of just 54% for this group.

…with less than half of the remaining ones saying they will.

And for the youngest adults,

age 18-39,

only 12% have received a vaccine…

That would produce a total vaccination rate of just 54% for this group.

…with less than half of the remaining ones saying they will.

And for the youngest adults,

age 18-39,

only 12% have received a vaccine…

That would produce a total vaccination rate of just 54% for this group.

And for the youngest adults,

age 18-39,

only 12% have received a vaccine…

…with less than half of the remaining ones saying they will.

That would produce a total vaccination rate of just 54% for this group.

Taken together, these numbers result in a 63% vaccination rate among those 18 and older.

But another one in five adults say they will probably get the vaccine. That would boost the total to 81%.

Taken together, these numbers result in a 63% vaccination rate among those 18 and older.

But another one in five adults say they will probably get the vaccine. That would boost the total to 81%.

Taken together, these numbers result in a 63% vaccination rate among those 18 and older.

But another one in five adults say they will probably get the vaccine. That would boost the total to 81%.

Taken together, these numbers result in a 63% vaccination rate among those 18 and older.

But another one in five adults say they will probably get the vaccine. That would boost the total to 81%.

Converting those saying “probably” into ones who will “definitely” get a vaccine remains key to achieving the widespread vaccination public-health officials believe is needed for herd immunity. Estimates vary on the exact percentage needed, but experts agree it requires a substantial majority to be vaccinated.

How challenging might reaching that majority be? The Census survey suggests there is room for persuasion.

Reasons for not getting a Covid-19 vaccine, for those who say they probably will and those who definitely or probably won’t

Definitely/

probably won’t

Wait and see if it is safe

Don’t trust the government

Don’t trust Covid-19 vaccines

Reasons for not getting a Covid-19 vaccine, for those who say they probably will and those who definitely or probably won’t

Definitely/

probably won’t

Wait and see if it is safe

Don’t trust the government

Don’t trust Covid-19 vaccines

Reasons for not getting a Covid-19 vaccine, for those who say they probably will and those who definitely or probably won’t

Definitely/

probably won’t

Wait and see if it is safe

Don’t trust the government

Don’t trust Covid-19 vaccines

Reasons for not getting a Covid-19 vaccine, for those who say they probably will and those who definitely or probably won’t

Wait and see if it is safe

Don’t trust the government

Don’t trust Covid-19 vaccines

Overall, survey respondents cite concerns about possible side effects as a top reason for vaccine reluctance, including the narrower set of people who say they probably will get vaccinated.

But when it comes to other reasons for hesitancy, there are clear differences between those who say they probably will and those who say they probably or definitely won’t get a vaccine. Those who probably will get vaccinated are much less likely to cite mistrust as a concern, or a belief that it won’t work or isn’t necessary. They are more likely to say they want to wait and see, or that that others need it more.

That could be encouraging news for vaccine advocates. If the unvaccinated population begins to view the shot as safe—and that those who need it most have already gotten theirs—they may become more inclined to go from “probably” to “definitely.”

Alerts and web-browser tools can help you book a Covid-19 vaccine appointment. WSJ’s Joanna Stern met up with Kris Slevens, an IT guy who has booked over 300 appointments for New Jersey seniors, to learn the best tricks to compete in the vaccine-booking Hunger Games. Photo illustration: Emil Lendof for The Wall Street Journal

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