25% of Coloradans say they don’t want a COVID-19 vaccine


DENVER (KDVR) — The nation’s top epidemiologist predicts vaccines will be broadly available to the general public by April, but it looks like a large chunk of Coloradans will need convincing to get the shot. Depending on the survey, anywhere from one-fourth to one-third of Colorado doesn’t want a vaccine.

Data Desk looked at two surveys on vaccine hesitancy to see what they had in common – an Associated Press survey and a broad federal survey led by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the Census survey, 1,494,000 Coloradans say they do not intend on being vaccinated – exactly one quarter of the state’s population. The AP survey, meanwhile, does not have state-specific data, but does say one-third of surveyed Americans do not want vaccines.

On the whole, Colorado’s young people are more likely than the U.S. average to not want a vaccine.

About half Colorado’s respondents who don’t want a vaccine are under the age of 40.

The 25- to 39-year-old age brackets is the largest at 35% of the vaccine hesitant. The third largest is the 18- to 24-year-old age group at 16%; notably, this group is only a 6-year age span while the other groups are all 15-year divisions.

U.S. Census says vaccine distrust is evenly spread across racial groups, rather than disproportionately concentrated as commonly proclaimed.

The percentage of respondents from each racial category match the percentage of the state’s population, at least in the largest categories.

Colorado’s population is 4.6% Black, and 4.8% of respondents who don’t want a vaccine were Black. The state is 68% white non-Hispanic, and 65% of respondents who don’t want a vaccine were white non-Hispanic. The state is 21.8% Hispanic and the respondents 20.6% Hispanic.

Between the AP and U.S. Census surveys, safety concerns top the reasons why Coloradans don’t want vaccines.

Side effects are the largest concern, with 50%-60% checking this between the two studies. Just under half of respondents said they were going to “wait and see” what happens before they agreed to a vaccine.

There is no certainty yet about how much vaccine hesitancy will prevent herd immunity. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, estimated last December that 70%-80% of the population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, but that number is far from official.

The CDC says it doesn’t know how many people need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

“Experts do not yet know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19,” a statement reads.

The World Health Organization says it does not know how many people need vaccination either.

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