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DOH survey shows only half of residents want COVID-19 vaccine

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Only half of the respondents in a recent Department of Health survey indicated they would take the COVID-19 vaccination, while about 24.4% said they were not likely to get immunized against the virus that has sickened nearly 25,500 Hawaii residents and killed 404.

Another 25.5% said they were undecided.

The survey of 3,846 respondents was conducted Nov. 30 to Dec. 14 by Olomana Loomis ISC and New York-based Pathfinder — before the vaccine became widely available in Hawaii. A summary of the DOH survey said “anecdotal evidence suggests that vaccine acceptance has increased since and will continue to increase over time.”

“The results of this survey confirm what the Department of Health and our partners are hearing on the ground — that there is interest in Hawaii for the COVID-19 vaccination. As we continue expanding vaccinations to more communities, it’s reasonable to expect that many of those who are undecided will choose to be vaccinated as they see more of their friends, neighbors and fellow Hawaii residents receive their doses,” Health Director Dr. Libby Char said in a news release.

Health officials said the information gathered in the survey will help the agency focus its outreach efforts, especially in reaching ethnic minority groups and those with limited English proficiency.

Other survey points:

>> Oahu residents were more likely to get vaccinated the closer they live to urban Honolulu.

>> On the neighbor islands, Kauai showed high levels of vaccine readiness except in north shore communities; Maui had the lowest vaccination acceptance; and residents living near Hilo were more likely to vaccinate than residents near Kailua-Kona.

>> Men age 65 and older who are in a health care or education profession and have higher incomes were most likely to get vaccinated, while women, between 18 and 34 years of age with lower income and no more than associate degree were least likely.

>> African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians, Samoans and other Pacific Islanders also were less likely to get the vaccine, while those of Caucasian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese ancestry were more likely.

The survey also indicated that more than 70% of respondents said they understand the need to prioritize available vaccines first to those who are most at risk.

The survey “affirmed that Hawaii residents understand and support the need to allow those with the greatest risk from COVID-19 to receive the vaccine first and that we have to wait our turn as the vaccine supply becomes available,” the news release said.

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