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Polls Show North Carolinians Are Increasingly Willing To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Betty Sweeney of Greensboro gets a band aid after receiving her 2nd COVID-19 vaccination from Guilford County Health and Human Services registered nurse Kimble Capel at the Mount Zion Baptist church vaccination clinic in Greensboro, on Thursday, February
Woody Marshall
News and Record/pool

Polls from two North Carolina private universities show little budge in the percentage of North Carolinians who say they will not take the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the polls also show a decrease in those who are unsure, with nearly all of those respondents saying they do plan to get the vaccine.

Polling was conducted by Elon University and High Point University. While these polls found similar trends directionally, they differed in their findings on how many people in North Carolina say they will reject the vaccine.

An Elon poll conducted in late January found that 20% of respondents said they would not get the vaccine, essentially unchanged from the 20.5% who gave the same response from an Elon poll from early December. A High Point poll from early February found that 29% of respondents said they would not get the vaccine, also effectively the same as the 31% of respondents who in November said they would not get the vaccine.

The big change over time came in those who are no longer undecided about the vaccine. The Elon poll found that those who were not sure decreased from 39% in December to 24% in January; similarly, those who responded to the High Point poll decreased from 27% in November to 14% in February. Essentially all of those North Carolinians switched to planning to take the vaccine, or having already received it.

"Hesitancy about COVID-19 vaccines has declined substantially among North Carolina residents since we started tracking vaccine intentions last October," Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll and associate professor of political science, said in a news release. "As expected, many people who were unsure about the vaccine have now taken at least one dose or plan to take it when available. However, we did not find evidence that many in the 'no' camp are changing their minds, and the vast majority of the state remains at least a little worried about adverse side effects."

A majority of respondents in both polls said that they were concerned about getting sick from the coronavirus. Since a peak in daily cases and hospitalizations in mid-January, a spike likely driven by spreading during the holidays, numbers have fallen. Hospitalizations dropped to half the figure from January, but still stood at almost 2,000 hospitalized with Covid-19.

"So far, the vaccines have proven safe and effective, and it is great to see so many North Carolinians eager to be vaccinated," Dr. Jordan Smith, assistant professor and co-curricular coordinator in HPU's Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy, said in a news release. "Supply of currently authorized vaccines continues to improve, new vaccine authorizations are on the horizon, and North Carolina continues to expand eligibility for the vaccine."

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC health reporter, a beat he took in 2020. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016.
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