News Release

Most Black and Hispanic Adults Expect to Get the New COVID-19 Vaccine, Though Most White Adults Don’t

Two-Thirds of the Public Aren’t Worried About Getting Sick or Spreading the Virus Over the Holidays

The latest KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor survey reveals that half (51%) of all adults nationally say they “definitely” or “probably” will not get the latest COVID-19 vaccine, with many saying that they aren’t worried about catching the virus.

One in five (20%) say that they’ve already gotten the new vaccine that became available in September, with an additional 28% saying they “definitely” or “probably” will get the new shot. The rest say they “definitely” or “probably” will not get the new shot – a large group that includes three-in-10 (31%) of all adults who previously got a COVID vaccine but now say they don’t plan to get the updated vaccine.

Most Black adults (59%) and Hispanic adults (59%) say they have either already gotten the vaccine or expect to get the new vaccine. In contrast, most White adults (58%) say they “definitely” or “probably” will not get it. Partisanship also continues to play an outsized role in vaccine attitudes. For example, eight-in-10 (80%) White adults who identify as Republicans say they do not plan to get the new vaccine – more than twice the share of White adults who identify as Democrats (29%).

Among previously vaccinated adults who have not yet gotten latest vaccine, half (52%) cite a lack of concern about getting the virus as a reason. Fewer say being too busy (37%), waiting to get it later (32%), or having had bad side effects after a previous dose (27%) are all reasons why they haven’t gotten the new shot.

About one-in-six (16%) say that they can’t afford to take time off work to get the vaccine, including more than a third (35%) of Hispanic adults and one-in-five (22%) Black adults. About one-in-eight (13%) cite not being able to get a vaccine appointment as a reason for not getting the new shot.

Heading into the fourth holiday season since COVID-19 emerged, most people are not too worried about its potential impact on themselves or their friends and families, the survey shows.

For instance, three quarters (74%) of the public say that they are “not too worried” or “not at all worried” about getting COVID-19 over the holidays, almost three times the share who are “very” or “somewhat” worried (26%). At least two- thirds (68%) say that they are not worried about spreading the virus to people close to them, more than twice the share who are worried (31%).

The public is split on precautions being taken because of COVID-19 this fall and winter. Half (50%) of the public plans to take at least one of five potential precautions to reduce their risks during the fall and winter: Avoiding large gatherings (35%); wearing a mask in crowded places (30%); avoiding travel (25%); avoiding indoor restaurants (19%); or taking a COVID-19 test before visiting family and friends (18%). The other half plans to take none of those precautions.

People who are at least 65 years old – a group especially at risk of severe COVID-19 illness – are among the most likely to say that they’ve already gotten the new vaccine (34%), though they are no more likely than younger adults to say that they plan to take at least one of the five precautions.

Black (72%) and Hispanic (68%) adults are much more likely than White adults (39%) to say they plan to take at least one of those precautions. Similarly, Democrats (66%) are more than twice as likely as Republicans (29%) to say they plan to take precautions.

Designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at KFF, the survey was conducted from October 31-November 7, 2023, online and by telephone among a nationally representative sample of 1,401 U.S. adults. Interviews were conducted in English and in Spanish. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for the full sample. For results based on other subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.