According to a poll conducted by Stockton University, a majority of racial and ethnic minorities and lower-income residents of New Jersey want a COVID-19 vaccine, but report getting vaccinated at half the rates of white and more affluent residents of the Garden State
Overall, at least 80% of all respondents see the coronavirus as a major concern and are at least somewhat concerned they will catch it; 84% said they know someone who tested positive for the virus, and 13% had personally tested positive. Two-thirds (66%) would definitely or probably be vaccinated when they can.
The poll of 740 New Jersey adults showed that Hispanic respondents were more likely to get vaccinated if a dose were available to them than non-Hispanics of any race (75%- 64%). Black respondents were slightly more likely to get vaccinated than Whites (68%- 64%). Respondents in all income ranges wanted to be vaccinated at the same general rates, at 64%-69%.
However, non-Hispanic, white and wealthier respondents reported receiving at least one vaccine dose at nearly double the rates of minorities and poorer state residents, according to the poll. For example, 16% of Black respondents had received a vaccine dose compared to 30% of Whites; 14% of Hispanic respondents got their first dose compared to 27% of non-Hispanics of any race.
Only 15% of respondents with a household income of less than $50,000 had gotten their first dose, while 37% of those making more than $100,000 in household income have been vaccinated. The poll was conducted by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University by live callers from the Stockton campus from Feb. 22-March 5.
The poll also found that Black and Hispanic respondents have tested positive for COVID-19 at higher rates than Whites, Asians and non-Hispanics. The poll found no difference in infection rates among income levels.
“These findings reflect inequity in how the virus and the vaccination process are affecting people of color and lower-income populations in New Jersey,” said John Froonjian, director of the Hughes Center. “Black, Hispanic and lower-income residents are just as worried about COVID and are as eager to be vaccinated as the rest of the population. But they are waiting longer to get access to the vaccine, and more of them are getting sick,” he said.
A significant portion of the population is hesitant or opposed to being vaccinated. About one in five were not concerned about catching the virus, and 30% said they would probably or definitely not be vaccinated.
Major reasons cited for vaccine hesitancy included: fears about safety or side effects (34%), concern the vaccine was rushed (13%) and wanting to see how others are affected first (12%). One in five said they think the vaccine is unnecessary (11%) or identify as anti-vaccine (10%).