Survey: More Hawaii residents want to be vaccinated

  • CHAR

According to a statewide survey commissioned by the state Department of Health, 91% of respondents plan to get a COVID-19 vaccination, a strong indication that attitudes about the vaccines are rapidly shifting since inoculations first began in mid-December.

The survey found that 55% plan to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, and 36% will wait before receiving their vaccinations.

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The survey, conducted by Anthology Research from Dec. 30, 2020 to Jan. 11, 2021, included 445 adult Hawaii full-time residents statewide. Anthology has been tracking resident attitudes and behaviors relating to the pandemic on a regular basis since April 2020.

Previous surveys conducted by the DOH and the University of Hawaii before the vaccinations were available in Hawaii showed about 50% of residents would accept COVID-19 vaccine, while the other half indicated they did not plan to get vaccinated or were still undecided.

“This is a positive change in a relatively short time,” said Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of the DOH. “As we anticipated, those who were initially hesitant about getting the vaccine are now much more comfortable as they see family, friends, co-workers and others safely receiving their first and second doses.”

The survey also showed more than a third, or 37%, of Hawaii residents are less concerned about the impact the virus has on their health, and instead are now primarily focused on the pandemic’s economic and financial impact.

Of those who view the threat of COVID-19 primarily in terms of its economic and financial impact, 14% do not plan to get vaccinated. By contrast, of those who view the pandemic as more of a health crisis, 5% indicated they do not plan to be vaccinated. These attitudes represent less than 10% of the population.

Age and education also influence views of the vaccine.

According to the survey results, young adults are least likely to get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available to them. Just 35% of those under the age of 35 intend to get vaccinated. This number rises to 51% among those between the ages of 35 and 49, 61% among those between the ages of 50 and 64, and rises to 78% among seniors who are age 65 and above.

Among those with a college degree, 64% intend to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them. By contrast, the percentage drops to 45% among those without a college degree.

The survey also showed that those who view the pandemic more in terms of its financial impact were more likely to have experienced overall mental stress and depression over the last six months.

About eight in 10, or 82% of respondents, say they experienced a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, or panic attacks over the course of the last six months of the pandemic. More than half, or 52%, of these residents said their symptoms started before the pandemic, and of these, a third felt their condition became worse since the start of the pandemic.

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The survey also showed the DOH’s current campaign, which includes public service announcements under the banners, “Live with No Regrets” and “Let’s Get Back to Real Life,” is reaching 89% of Hawaii residents.

These TV spots, which focus on social distancing at home and at work, are effective: The majority of survey respondents who are following all suggested COVID-19 guidelines has risen to 65% — the highest percentage since monitoring began in April 2020.

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