COVID-19 Poll Highlights Vaccine Concerns
A scientific poll released today by the Tampa Bay Partnership reveals that 69% of Tampa Bay residents are “very” or “somewhat” likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but Black and Hispanic residents are more unlikely to get vaccinated than white residents.
Forty-three percent of Black residents and 38% of Hispanic residents are “not likely” to take the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 29% of white residents. This reluctance also extends to young residents, with 45% of 18- to 34-year-olds in Tampa Bay unlikely to get vaccinated. Among the 31% of all residents who would decline to get the COVID-19 vaccine if it were available to them today, 65% cited concerns about the vaccine’s side effects as the primary reason.
According to the poll, only 1 in 10 residents have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and Tampa Bay residents are largely dissatisfied with how the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida has gone to date, with 62% rating the process as “fair” or “poor.”
“This data should signal to our elected officials and community leaders that we need to work harder and reach out more effectively, particularly to certain segments of our population, to ensure we achieve the 70 percent vaccination threshold recommended for community protection,” said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership.
Despite the limited distribution of the vaccine and last month’s surge in new COVID-19 cases in Tampa Bay, which had peaked on Jan. 7 with 3,839 new cases, Tampa Bay residents are relatively comfortable engaging in normal day-to-day activities, including visiting a close friend or family member in their home (67%), going to the grocery store (66%), going to a public beach or park (61%), going to work (57%) and eating out in a restaurant (52%). They are, however, much less comfortable engaging in activities that involve large groups of people, including attending a social gathering with more than 10 people (35%), going to the gym (33%), flying on an airplane (30%), using public transportation (28%) or attending an indoor sporting event or concert (25%).
- Tampa Mayor Jane Castor receives the highest positive ratings among state and local elected officials for her handling of the pandemic (38%), but approval for her response to COVID-19 is at its lowest point to date, after reaching a high of 52% on April 30.
- The percentage of residents rating President Biden’s handling of the pandemic as “excellent” or “very good” (44%) is significantly higher than for former President Trump (with a low 27% on July 21).
- Tampa Bay residents are also generally supportive of the new administration’s proposed COVID-19 policies, including: requiring face coverings on planes, trains and buses (73%); providing additional stimulus checks for eligible Americans (69%); extending unemployment benefits for people who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 (59%); extending the federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures (57%); and extending a pause on federal student loan payments (55%).
- The number of Tampa Bay residents who lost a job due to COVID-19 (24%) has increased since its lowest point on May 15 (13%).
- Among the residents who lost a job, were furloughed or had their hours/wages reduced, 39% have unsuccessfully searched for a new job and 11% have stopped looking for one.
The COVID-19 Tampa Bay Sentiment Survey is produced by the Tampa Bay Partnership, in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, United Way Suncoast and USF Muma College of Business, as part of the State of the Region initiative. Downs & St. Germain Research of Tallahassee surveyed a demographically representative group of 384 adult residents in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties on January 25-26, 2021. The survey has a 95 percent confidence interval with a 5 percent margin of error. This is the sixth such survey tracking the impact of COVID-19 on the region. Results from the first survey, conducted April 1-2, can be viewed here. Results from the second survey, conducted April 15-16, can be viewed here. Results from the third survey, conducted April 29-30, can be viewed here. Results from the fourth survey, conducted May 13-15, can be viewed here. Results from the fifth survey, conducted July 21-22, can be viewed here.
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About the Tampa Bay Partnership
The Tampa Bay Partnership is a coalition of regional business leaders, joined by a shared commitment to improving the personal and economic well-being of Tampa Bay residents. Formally incorporated in 1994, and re-established in 2016 as a regional research and public policy organization, the Partnership works with the region’s top employers, and a diverse group of government and nonprofit partners, to identify and address the toughest challenges facing our community, and create new opportunities for the future.