Previously vaccine hesitant Coloradans could be moving toward a change of heart

A partner post from our friends at the Colorado Department of Health & Environment.

Since COVID-19 vaccines became a reality in late 2020, public health officials have watched closely all available data on vaccine hesitancy including the impacts of race and ethnicity as well as gender, education and age on the likelihood that a person would express concerns about taking a COVID vaccine.

In September 2020, when the first polling was done in Colorado on the topic, the news wasn’t good. Across the board, a statewide telephone and online poll of 810 Coloradans over the age of 18 showed that only about 66 percent were willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine either immediately or after a short wait. Those numbers were even lower if the respondent was Black or Latino or if they identified as a woman.

But new polling data gathered between February 15 and March 8 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) shows that after months of successful vaccinations across the state, country and world, opinions seem to be changing. The February 2021 poll showed willingness to take a COVID-19 vaccination had jumped to 80 percent for all Coloradans. And individual demographics polled also increased with Black Coloradans increasing their willingness slightly from 53 percent to 68 percent and Latino Coloradans moving from 57 percent willing to 79 percent willing.

The poll also provided valuable insights for health care providers as they continue to work to encourage vaccinations across the communities they serve. Key observations include:

  • Among all Coloradans, top concerns about taking the vaccines continue to be long-term and short-term side effects. These concerns are followed closely by questions around how the vaccines were made and what they contain.
  • Black and Latino Coloradans share these overarching questions and would also add overall vaccine safety and effectiveness as critical concerns before agreeing to become vaccinated.
  • Not feeling well following vaccination and missing work as well as struggles with how to schedule an appointment were identified as the top barriers to vaccination across all Coloradans.
  • For both Black and Latino Coloradans, feeling ill after taking the vaccines and missing work was a top concern and likely presents a significant barrier to their willingness to be vaccinated.

CDPHE used the polling to develop the second phase of a statewide media campaign to encourage all Coloradans to take a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible. The campaign launched in early April statewide on television, radio, social media and many other channels. It is slated to run through September 2021.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact CDPHE’s immunization branch at 303-692-2700 or cdphe.dcdimmunization@state.co.us.

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