Residents of the Big Apple metro area and other major US cities are more willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than the rest of the US, a new survey suggests.
The study, conducted by the CUNY School of Public Health and just published in nature.com, surveyed 6,037 Americans in mid-April with a particular focus on four large metro areas in different regions of the country: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.
The number of people unwilling to get vaccinated in each city was: 10.1 percent in New York City; 11.2 percent in Chicago; 11.5 percent in LA and 19.7 percent in Dallas, according to the survey.
Meanwhile, the resistance rate for the entire country was more than 21 percent. But since that figure is an average that includes the lower rate for the major cities, resistance would be notably higher in more rural areas.
The main reason for resistance involved people “waiting to see if there are no serious complications” from the vaccine, the analysis found.
There also were a significant number of hard-core refuseniks, the CUNY poll found.
When asked what would increase their readiness to accept vaccination, almost half of those who expressed resistance said, “Nothing would change their minds.”
The CUNY Public Health study also found:
- Those who tested positive or had a family member test positive for COVID-19 were more likely to accept vaccination, which might help explain why more residents in the New York metro-area — the initial epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak that caused thousands of deaths — are supportive of inoculation.
- Households with lower incomes and expressing general conservative ideology were strongly linked to vaccine resistance, while it was more a mixed bag in terms of resisters’ racial make-up. For example, in the New York and LA metro areas, white respondents were more likely than black respondents to express misgiving or resistance to COVID19 vaccination, but the reverse was true in the Chicago and Dallas metropolitan areas.
- Returning to work was a top priority expressed by conservative respondents and may be an effective motivator to get more resisters in this group to vaccinate, the analysis said.
Ayman El-Mohandes, dean of the CUNY School of Public Health and co-author of the study, told The Post that it’s not time yet for Americans to let their guard down on COVID-19.
“As long as the virus is lurking among us, another variation or mutation can flare up,” he said. “We had not heard of the Delta variant, and suddenly it appeared. That’s what we’re afraid of.”
El-Mohandes added that vaccine mandates have proven effective.
On Sunday, the office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reported that 86 percent of Police Department employees and 81 percent of firefighters received at least one COVID-19 shot and overall compliance for all city employee is 93 percent.
Still, El-Mohandes cautioned government and school officials not to rush through a mandate for young children to get vaccinated — saying it could trigger a counterproductive backlash — without first conducting a sweeping education campaign.
“We need to handle this carefully. Parents don’t want to be forced to vaccinate their children,” he said.