Confronting COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Nonelderly Adults

Woman standing at office entrance.

Research suggests that more than one-third of nonelderly adults may be unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, with rates of vaccine hesitancy particularly high among Black adults.

The Issue

Concerns about the potential side effects and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine are being cited by many vaccine-hesitant adults as reasons why they may forgo vaccination. However, many of these same individuals who note a hesitancy about receiving the vaccine say they would trust their health care provider for information about the safety of the vaccine, if told.

Key Findings

  • 35 percent of adults reported they were unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including 19 percent who would probably not get vaccinated and 16 percent who would definitely not get vaccinated.

  • Nearly half of Black adults (49%) held this position, compared with about one-third of white and Hispanic/Latino adults. However, almost two-thirds of Black adults seemed to still be considering their decision about getting a vaccine.

  • Half (51%) of vaccine-hesitant adults trust their health care providers for information about the vaccine – but variation in how vaccine-hesitant adults interact with the health care system highlights the need for targeted outreach by providers and other trusted community groups.

Conclusion

Doctors and medical care providers are among the most trusted sources of information regarding vaccines. Direct outreach from these trusted sources to vaccine-hesitant populations will be a crucial component of moving past the pandemic as vaccination efforts scale up in the weeks ahead. 

About the Urban Institute

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector. Visit the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for more information specific to its staff and its recent research.