Analysis: Rural Residents Stand Out as One of the Most Hesitant Groups to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine and Pose Special Challenges for the Mass Vaccination Efforts

A new analysis of survey data from the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor found that residents of rural America stand out as one of the groups most reluctant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and that their views on the pandemic are facing significant challenges mass vaccination of the country could represent an effort.

About a third (35%) of people living in rural areas say they would likely or definitely not receive a COVID-19 vaccine that was found to be safe, effective and available for free, compared to about a quarter of suburbs ( 27%). and city dwellers (26%) who say the same thing.

Many factors are related to a person's willingness to be vaccinated, including their age, educational level, and especially political party identification. Republicans are much less likely than Democrats and Independents to say they will get a coronavirus vaccine.

Even after taking these factors into account, people living in rural areas are more likely to be vaccine reluctant than suburban and urban dwellers. This could in part reflect the views of rural residents about the pandemic.

While rural residents are just as likely as others to say they know someone who tested positive or died of coronavirus, about four in ten (39%) rural residents say they don't fear they or anyone in their family will get COVID -19 versus 23% of urban residents and three in ten suburban residents.

Half (50%) say the threat of COVID-19 is “generally exaggerated” in the news, a belief held by fewer urbanites (27%) and suburbanites (37%).

Most rural residents (62%) view vaccination as a personal choice rather than part of everyone's responsibility to protect the health of others (36%). In contrast, most urban residents (55%) and almost half of suburban residents (47%) see vaccination as part of everyone's responsibility.

Who could change rural people's minds about a vaccine?

Similar to urban and suburban residents, the vast majority of rural residents (86%) say they would trust the vaccine information from their own doctor or health care provider. Smaller stocks say the FDA (68%), the CDC (66%), their local health department (64%), Dr. Trust Anthony Fauci (59%) or government officials (55%).

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