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Health & Wellness

New Study Says More Than 40% Of Texans Don’t Want Or Aren’t Sure About A COVID-19 Vaccine

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate ready for a trial in May 2020.
Mladen Antonov
/
AFP via Getty Images
A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate ready for a trial in May 2020.

More than 40% of Texans say they're either unsure or unlikely to accept a COVID-19 vaccine, including 22% who say they definitely aren’t getting the vaccine, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The report, conducted by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs, examines who is most likely to decline the vaccine, as well as the reasons behind those decisions.

According to the report, there is greater uncertainty among African Americans compared to other groups, with 15% saying they are undecided on whether they will accept the vaccine, while 48% reported that they had already received the vaccine or are most likely going to receive it.

Ten percent of Latinos and 7% of white Texans are undecided, while 60% of Latinos and 59% of white Texans said they had already received the vaccine or are most likely going to receive it.

More than 60% of those unwilling to receive the vaccine stated that it was because of potential vaccine side effects and the vaccine’s rapid development. More than 55% reported distrust in the government and pharmaceutical companies as another major reason.

Health officials say 70-90% of the population must be vaccinated to achieve "herd immunity." Mark P. Jones, a fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute and a Hobby School senior research associate, said that goal can be realistically achieved despite vaccine hesitancy.

But, he said, the numbers likely won’t be at the higher end of that spectrum.

"I think it would be unrealistic based on this survey data to expect that the vaccination rates in Texas are going to go much above 80%," he said.

Additional reporting by Joseph Leahy of KUT in Austin.