TUPELO • Most Mississippians will take a COVID-19 vaccine once its available to them, according to an executive summary of a recent survey of vaccine confidence released by the Mississippi Department of Health released this week.
According to the results of the Mississippi COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Survey, 73.2% of Mississippians surveyed indicated they will “definitely or likely” receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them. 16.6% remained undecided, while only 10.2% said they do not intend to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
However, vaccination plans vary at least slightly by gender, race/ethnicity, age, marital status education level, annual household income and political affiliation.
Asian respondents were most likely to receive the vaccine, with 80.8% responding that they intended to, along with 80.5% White, 66.3% American Indian, 61.3% Hispanic and 56.3% Black.
78% of men and 68.4% of women said they intend to get vaccinated. 47.2% of those under the age of 35, 68.7% of those 35-64 and 92.3% of those 65 and older intend to get vaccinated.
Those with higher annual household income and higher education level in Mississippi proved to be more likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
81.4% of individuals with a household income of $80,000 and above planned to be vaccinated, along with 72.6% of $30,000-$79,999 and 54.6% of those less than $30,000.
80.1% of individuals with a graduate degree planned to be vaccinated, along with 71.5% of college graduates or those with some college and 51.1% of those with a high school education or less.
Meanwhile, vaccine intent was fairly even across the spectrum of political affiliation in Mississippi with 75.5% of independents intending to receive the vaccine, along with 74.4% Republican leaning, 70% Democratic leaning and 68% of those who consider themselves others or say their affiliation depends on the issues.
Of all surveyed Mississippi parents 52.2% of them intend to vaccinate their children for COVID-19 when a vaccine is available for their age group.
Vaccine concerns and influencers
Mississippians told MSDH they were most concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine's safety, side effects, FDA approval and effectiveness.
They remain the most frequent concerns against accepting the vaccine regardless of gender, age, annual household income or education level.
The only exception was men indicating more concerns regarding FDA approval rather than side effects related to the vaccine, while women placed more weight on concerns about potential side effects.
Of the general Mississippi population, 60.4% of Mississippians said they would likely get the COVID-19 vaccine if their regular primary medical care provider encouraged them to do so.
51.3% would likely get the COVID-19 vaccine if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraged them to, 51.2% would be more likely if the MSDH/State Health Officer encouraged them to do so.
Only 45.4% of Mississippians said they would likely get the vaccine if their father, mother or close relative encouraged them to do so, while just 13% said they would be more likely if a celebrity attempted to influence them.
Vaccine hesitant Mississippians were asked the same questions. 23.6% of COVID-19 vaccine hesitant Mississippians said they would be likely to get the vaccine if their primary medical care encouraged them to do so.
20.8% of vaccine hesitant Mississippians said they would be more likely to get the vaccine if their father, mother or close relative encouraged them, 16.3% if the CDC encouraged them and 14.1% if the MSDH/State Health Officer encouraged them.
More than 11,000 Mississippians, representing all of the state's 82 counties, responded to the survey, which began in December 2020 and concluded in March 2021.
Intentional efforts were made to reach lower income and rural Mississippi populations, as well as the state’s Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American/Choctaw communities.
The survey was administered in three languages — English, Spanish and Vietnamese — through a mixed-modal survey effort, including: web-based, paper-based and verbal-oratory administration.
Dr. Victor Sutton, MSDH Director of Preventive Health and Health Equity, said the results will provide unique insights as MSDH continues outreach efforts.
"As we look at trying to build more trust and more confidence in the vaccine," Sutton said. "We need to make sure that we get the message out more and that we share more so (Mississippians) can make those decisions that are best for themselves and their family."