The Potluck

Survey: Minnesota’s vaccine hesitancy rate among nation’s lowest

By: - April 16, 2021 12:19 pm

Jennifer Simmons receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during Senior Weekend at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Va., February 2, 2021. Parker Michels-Boyce/ For the Virginia Mercury.

About 11% of Minnesotans are hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, one of the lowest rates in the nation, according to a federal survey.

Vaccine hesitancy rates range from 31% in Wyoming to 7% in Vermont and Massachusetts. Minnesota’s rate is among the nation’s six lowest and suggests that the state may be able to reach 80% vaccination, the goal set by Gov. Tim Walz for herd immunity.

The survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau between March 3 and March 15, asked respondents if they would “definitely,” “probably” or “definitely not” get the vaccine once it was available to them. Respondents who said “probably” or “definitely not” were counted as vaccine hesitant.

About 5% of Minnesotans said they would “definitely not” get vaccinated. Another 6% said they would “probably” get vaccinated. 

Health officials are ramping up efforts to encourage reluctant Minnesotans to get vaccinated, the Reformer reported earlier this month.

Reasons for vaccine hesitancy include skepticism of the government, concerns about the vaccines’ quick development and fears of side effects. Misinformation about what’s in the vaccine or how it works and about the severity of COVID-19 are also significant factors, experts say.

The Census survey offers a more optimistic picture than previous public polling. A KSTP survey in early March found that 56% of Minnesotans who had not yet been vaccinated planned on doing so. The survey identified stark partisan divides in vaccine hesitancy, with 50% of Republicans saying they did not plan on being vaccinated, compared to 12% of Democrats and 28% of all Minnesotans.

More than 2.1 million Minnesotans — about half the population — had received at least one dose of vaccine as of Wednesday, and 1.5 million had received a complete vaccine series.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.