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Vaccination Rates for Healthcare Workers Have Doubled

But survey shows lags for those who earn less and have less education

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Early on a lot of people expressed outright hesitancy, but they seem to be moving as more and more people get vaccinated without major incidence.”

James Druckman
IPR political scientist

Doctor receives his vaccination

Since January, more U.S. healthcare workers have said they are ready to get vaccinated, with rates of vaccine hesitancy dropping from 37% to 29%, according to a new survey from a research consortium that includes Northwestern University.

The same survey finds a similar drop in the hesitancy rate for workers outside of healthcare, falling from 41% to 31%.

"Early on a lot of people expressed outright hesitancy, but they seem to be moving as more and more people get vaccinated without major incidence," said IPR political scientist James Druckman, who co-leads the ongoing, national survey of more than 25,000 Americans.

The researchers from Northwestern, Harvard, Northeastern, and Rutgers are investigating changes in attitudes about the vaccine and vaccination rates among healthcare workers from previous data collected in February.

The survey also shows the rate of vaccination has doubled among healthcare workers, and those with a graduate degree have been vaccinated at four times the rate of those with a high school degree or less (43% versus 13%).

The researchers discovered that levels of vaccine hesitancy decreased when they looked at a respondent's gender, education level, income, and political identification. However, the decline is less correlated to one's race/ethnicity, age, or where one lives.

Other key findings on healthcare workers:

  • Education: Among those with a high school degree or less, vaccine hesitancy substantially declined by 10 percentage points from 41% to 31%, compared to those with graduate degrees, which dipped from 26% to 23%.
  • Income: Among those earning more than $150,000, 37% said they had been vaccinated, while only 15% of those who earn $25,000 or less had been.
  • Political Party: Healthcare workers who identify as Democrats were the most vaccinated group at 28%. Republicans and Independents lag at 23% and 22%, respectively.
  • Residential Area: 27% of suburban respondents indicated they had been vaccinated, while 19% of rural respondents and 21% of urban respondents said they had been vaccinated.
Read more about the findings and the study here.

James Druckman is the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science and IPR Associate Director. Previous surveys are available.

Photo Credit: Flickr; U.S. Secretary of Defense, L. Ferdinando

Funding for the reports came from the National Science, Knight, and the Russell Sage foundations. Data collection was partially supported by Amazon. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the studies are those of the authors and do not reflect the funders' views.

Published: March 26, 2021.