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Little Difference In Vaccine Hesitancy Among White And Black Americans, Poll Finds

A dose of the new one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in South Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Mario Tama
Getty Images
A dose of the new one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in South Los Angeles on Wednesday.

There is little difference in reluctance to take the coronavirus vaccine among Black and white people in the U.S., according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey.

Among those who responded to the survey, 73% of Black people and 70% of White people said that they either planned to get a coronavirus vaccine or had done so already; 25% of Black respondents and 28% of white respondents said they did not plan to get a shot. Latino respondents were slightly more likely to say they would not get vaccinated at 37%, compared with 63% who either had or intended to get a vaccine.

The findings come amid concerns in some states over who is getting vaccinated and who is not, with data in some states suggesting stark racial disparities. The pandemic has had an outsized impact on people of color, especially Black Americans.

The survey of 1,227 adults was conducted March 3 to 8. Respondents were contacted on mobile and landline phones by callers who conducted interviews live in English and Spanish. The poll has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points, with greater statistical variation possible among subgroups.

Horace Hill, a 61 year old Black man from Tulsa, Okla., said he had an appointment to get his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Friday.

He said his health is a high priority for him, and hasn't had issues with the traditional flu vaccine, and so he decided to take the shot when it became available to him.

His parents, who are in their eighties, received their vaccines about two weeks ago.

"I asked them specifically, 'Have you guys had any problems?' " Hill said. "My father was like, 'No, your mother and I, we feel good!' "

Overall, 67% of people said they had either planned to get a coronavirus vaccine, or had done so already. Thirty percent said they did not plan to get a shot.

While there was little racial difference in who wants the vaccine, there were sharp partisan differences, according to the poll.

Among Republican men, 49% said they did not plan to get the shot, compared with just 6% of Democratic men who said the same. Among those who said they supported President Trump in the 2020 election, 47% said they did not plan to get a coronavirus vaccine compared with just 10% of Biden supporters.

Similarly, compared with "big city" respondents, rural residents were more likely to say that they did not plan to take a coronavirus vaccine.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.

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