In an ongoing panel survey conducted by Northwestern University (NU) and Ohio State University, researchers find that Americans are significantly less concerned that they may die from Covid-19, while their overall perceived likelihood of contracting the virus remained relatively constant from December to February.
“In December, Americans believed they had almost a one in three chance of dying if they contracted Covid-19,” said Erik Nisbet, professor of communication and policy analysis and director of the UN Center for Communication and Public Policy. “Now, two months later, that number has dropped significantly to about one in four chances of dying if they get sick. Interestingly, the general perception of the likelihood of contracting Covid-19 has not changed significantly.”
“Public Attitudes About Covid-19 Vaccination”, a study of 1,200 Americans surveyed monthly from December 2020 to June 2021, tracks changes in attitudes around risk perceptions, decision making, policy preferences and preventive health behaviors. Respondents were asked about mask and vaccine mandates, restrictions in bars, restaurants and places of worship, willingness or indecision to get vaccinated, vaccine availability and effectiveness, as well as their most important sources of information on Covid -19.
The study found that even though some states lifted state-wide mask mandates, strong public support, registering at 61 percent, for mask mandates remains unchanged since December, the Xinhua news agency reported. .
The study shows that about four in 10 Americans are “accepting the vaccine,” and they say they are very likely or likely to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. Another in four is “vaccine averse”, reporting that it is somewhat likely or somewhat unlikely to get vaccinated. About one in three Americans remain “vaccine resistant,” responding that they are unlikely or extremely unlikely to get it. Over a period of three months, these percentages have remained stable and practically unchanged.
Respondents who expressed hesitancy, compared to acceptance, were more likely to be female, black, and / or religious, and indicated they were less interested in the news. They also rely less on healthcare providers and public health experts, are less likely to receive an annual flu vaccine, and perceive Covid-19 vaccines as less safe and somewhat less effective.
According to 23 percent of respondents, the most important source of information about the Covid-19 pandemic is the media, including newspapers, television news, radio, news websites, followed by federal health authorities, such as those representing the CDC and the FDA at 18 percent. Health care providers and scientists were chosen as the top source by 11 percent. Few respondents mentioned social media or state and local officials as the primary source of Covid information.
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