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Hawai‘i Department of Health Survey Shows Diverse Views of Pandemic and Responses

by Thunda

The majority or 91% of respondents in a recent statewide survey plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a strong indication that attitudes about the vaccine are rapidly shifting since administration of the vaccinations first began in mid-December.

According to the survey commissioned by the Hawai‘i Department of Health, 55% plan to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and 36% will wait before receiving their vaccinations. The survey, conducted by Anthology Research from Dec. 30, 2020 to Jan. 11, 2021, included 445 adult Hawai‘i full-time residents statewide. Anthology has been tracking resident attitudes and behaviors relating to the pandemic on a regular basis since April 2020.

Previous surveys conducted by the Hawai‘i Department of Health and the University of Hawai‘i before the vaccinations were available in Hawai‘i showed about 50% of residents would accept COVID-19 vaccine, while the other half indicated they did not plan to get vaccinated or were still undecided.

“This is a positive change in a relatively short time,” said Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health. “As we anticipated, those who were initially hesitant about getting the vaccine are now much more comfortable as they see family, friends, co-workers and others safely receiving their first and second doses.”

The survey also showed more than a third, or 37%, of Hawai‘i residents are less concerned about the impact the virus has on their health, and instead are now primarily focused on the pandemic’s economic and financial impact.

Of those who view the threat of COVID-19 primarily in terms of its economic and financial impact, 14% do not plan to get vaccinated. By contrast, of those who view the pandemic as more of a health crisis, 5% indicated they do not plan to be vaccinated. These attitudes represent less than 10% of the population.

Age and education also influence views of the vaccine:

  • According to the survey results, young adults are least likely to get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available to them. Just 35% of those under the age of 35 intend to get the vaccine. This number rises to 51% among those between the ages of 35 and 49, 61% among those between the ages of 50 and 64, and rises to 78% among seniors who are age 65 and above.
  • Among those with a college degree, 64% intend to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them. By contrast, the percentage drops to 45% among those without a college degree.

The survey also showed that those who view the pandemic more in terms of its financial impact were more likely to have experienced overall mental stress and depression over the last six months.

About eight in ten, or 82% of respondents, say they experienced a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, or panic attacks over the course of the last six months of the pandemic. More than half, or 52%, of these residents said their symptoms started before the pandemic, and of these, a third felt their condition became worse since the start of the pandemic.

The survey also showed the Department of Health’s current campaign, which includes public service announcements under the banners, “Live with No Regrets” and “Let’s Get Back to Real Life,” is reaching 89% of Hawai‘i residents. These TV spots, which focus on social distancing at home and at work, are effective: The majority of survey respondents who are following all suggested COVID-19 guidelines has risen to 65% — the highest percentage since monitoring began in April 2020.

For more about the survey, view the survey report.

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