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More than a quarter of Americans remain hesitant to get COVID-19 vaccine, study finds

Dr. David Sellers
Posted at 8:05 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 21:05:38-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In the midst of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, about a quarter of Americans remain hesitant about the shots.

According to a new survey, many black adults, rural residents, and Republicans think getting the vaccine isn't a good idea.

The research collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation found there's been an increase in the share of the public saying they would definitely or probably get a vaccine for COVID-19 if it was determined to be safe by scientists and available for free to everyone who wanted it. But, 27% remain reluctant.

"Because this vaccine has come along so quickly, people are very much looking at this thing under a microscope and worried about getting this vaccine," said Dr. David Sellers, chief of staff at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford.

According to the survey, people are worried about potential side effects, they do not trust the government to ensure the vaccines are safe and effective or they worry the vaccine is too new.

A third of African American adults responded they probably or definitely won't get vaccinated.

"Sadly, I'm not surprised by it just knowing the history," said Dr. Sellers.

The Tuskegee Experiment has scarred some in the black community, according to Sellers.

"It was a horrible experiment. These people weren't consented. They were given the opportunity to be in the study under the guise of getting free medical care, and so it's something that kind of stuck with the community and allowed us not to trust, to a large extent especially things where you're getting injected with a medication like a vaccine," Dr. Sellers said.

Currently, Republicans, rural residents, and black adults are most likely to be on the fence about the COVID-19 vaccine. But the numbers are on the downswing. Close to 70% of Americans would take the vaccine up from 63% in September.

"I think with education, people are getting more comfortable with the thought of the vaccine and are actually getting them," said Dr. Sellers.

When it is time to make their decision, 85% responded to the survey that they will turn to their doctor for information rather than the government.