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Most Virginians say they’re very likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Don’t hold out — it could save your life.

Young woman giving thumbs-up sign as she gets her vaccination Photo: Getty Images

More than 7 in 10 Virginians say they’re likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new statewide poll conducted by VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

This represents an increase of 13 percentage points compared to September 2020. The increase in those who said "very likely" was significant for both whites and minorities, with an increase of 14 percentage points for whites and 8 percentage points for minorities compared to September 2020.

The poll shows that belief in the safety, effectiveness and importance of the vaccines is becoming more widespread in Virginia.

Vaccine acceptance essential to beating COVID-19

During a Massey Cancer Center “Facts and Faith Friday” January 8, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stressed the importance of vaccination to “crush” the COVID-19 pandemic, which has stolen more than 384,000 U.S. lives and infected more than 23 million people in this country.

“If we’re successful in convincing the overwhelming majority of people to get vaccinated — and I would estimate 70% to 85% — logistically that would likely take us sometime toward the end of the summer,” Fauci said. “If we get that overwhelming majority vaccinated, I think we can start approaching a reasonable degree of normality toward the mid-fall of 2021.”

During the "Facts and Faith" event, co-sponsored by the governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Office of Health Equity at the Virginia Department of Health, VCU Massey Cancer Center and faith leaders from Massey Cancer Center’s “Facts & Faith Fridays” group, Dr. Fauci described the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color in the U.S.

For every 100,000 Americans, he said, 564 Black or African Americans are being hospitalized for COVID-19, compared to 184 people who are white. For every 100,000 people in the U.S., 132 Black or African Americans are dying from the disease, compared to 81 who are white.

“It’s an extraordinary difference — an extraordinary disparity,” he said.

You can save lives

“If we want to crush this outbreak, we need to get the overwhelming majority of the United States population to get vaccinated, including — and I might say even specifically — Black and brown people, because of the risk of infection and serious consequences,” Fauci said. 

VCU Health began vaccinating front-line health care workers December 18.

“I’ve never been so excited about something as seemingly mundane as a vaccine,” said Dr. Gonzalo Bearman, one of the first vaccine recipients.  “But this is no average vaccine, as we know. It’s a huge step forward.  … This could be one of those defining medical moments of the 21st century,” he said.

Although vaccines are not yet available to all members of the general public, VCU Health will publish updates to its availability. You can also register for our monthly e-newsletter.

Learn more about the vaccine

Learn more about when you can get the vaccine, vaccine safety and the truth behind vaccine myths. To hear what it’s like to get the vaccine, please visit VCU Health Clean Team member Ronald Leeper’s video diary.

For the full Commonwealth Poll Winter 2021 results and analysis, visit https://oppo.vcu.edu/policy-poll/.

Portions of this article were contributed by Robyn McDougle, James Irwin and Esther Benenson.