Topics: COVID-19, Miller College of Business, Research

February 9, 2021

Almost one in five Americans are hesitant to receive a COVID-19 immunization, according to a survey from a team of researchers that included a Ball State University professor.

The results have been published in “COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy in the United States: A Rapid National Assessment” in the Journal of Community Health.

The researchers surveyed 1,878 Americans in an online questionnaire. Among their key findings:

  • 15 percent said they are “not likely” to get immunized.
  • 7 percent said they are “definitely not” getting immunized.
  • Vaccine hesitancy is highest among African-Americans, Hispanics, those with children at home, rural dwellers, people in the Northeastern U.S., and Republicans.

Even among demographic groups with the highest hesitancy levels, those who reported that they were either “not likely” to get immunized or will “definitely not” get immunized accounted for a minority. For example, 66 percent of African-Americans and 71 percent of Republicans reported that they planned on getting immunized.

The team of six researchers included Ball State computer information systems professor Sushil Sharma, who is also associate dean of operations for the Miller College of Business. Jagdish Khubchandani, former Ball State health science professor, was the report’s lead researcher. Khubchandani took a position at New Mexico State University in 2020.

The researchers identified various factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy, including: pre-existing indecisiveness; historical mistrust with health care, especially among minorities; cost-related concerns; and low levels of awareness.

“What this shows is that as a country we need to develop evidence-based ways to address the root causes of vaccine hesitation and to promote immunization programs,” Dr. Sharma said.

Scientists still don’t know how many people need to be immunized in order to develop “herd immunity,” but estimates range from around 70 percent to 90 percent of the U.S. population.