(NEXSTAR) — About 43% of Republicans say they will not get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new survey of just over 800 American adults. The survey, conducted by Monmouth University Polling, arrives after about half of Americans have received the first shot of the vaccine.
In total, about 1 in 5 of those surveyed said they would be unwilling to get the vaccine if they can avoid it. That number is down about 4% from January and February.
“The number of people who have been skittish about the vaccine has dropped as more Americans line up for the shot, but the hardcore group who want to avoid it at all costs has barely budged,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, in a statement.
“The recent news about J&J vaccines is probably not going to help that situation. On the other hand, it might not make it all that much worse since much of this reluctance is really ingrained in partisan identity.”
The FDA and CDC recommended pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine after a very small group of people developed blood clots following the shot.
Partisanship remained the “main distinguishing factor” among those who want to avoid the vaccine, Monmouth said.
Adults under age 65 (25%) were also more likely than seniors to say they don’t want the vaccine.
There were no major discernible differences by race. About 22% of white people and 20% of people of color said they would avoid getting the vaccine if possible.
A similar poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in late March found that about 24% of Black American adults said they will probably or definitely not get vaccinated. That’s down from 41% in January. The latest number shows Black Americans leaning against getting shots in almost the same proportion as white Americans at 26% and Hispanic Americans at 22%.
Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said attitudes toward the vaccine among Black Americans have taken “almost a 180-degree turnaround” as outreach campaigns have worked to combat misinformation.
He credited Black physicians, faith leaders and other community organizers for being trusted messengers during the pandemic, which has killed more than 550,000 Americans.
“It’s the messenger and the message,” but the messenger “is probably the most important part of it, and people doing it in a way that wasn’t preachy,” Benjamin said. “They didn’t tell people, ‘You need to get vaccinated because it’s your duty.’ They basically said, ‘Listen, you need to get vaccinated to protect yourself and your family.’”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.