Tackling COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Nonelderly Adults

Research findings from the Urban Institute’s December 2020 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey indicates that more than one-third of non-elderly adults may be unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, with rates of vaccine hesitancy especially high among Black adults.

Fears about the potential side effects and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine are being cited by many vaccine-hesitant adults as reasons why they may decline vaccination. However, many of these same individuals who note a hesitancy about receiving the vaccine say they would trust their health care provider for information about the safety of the vaccine, if told.

Significant Findings

35% percent of adults reported they were unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including 19 percent who would probably not get vaccinated and 16% who would definitely not get vaccinated.

Nearly half of Black adults (49%) held this position, compared with about one-third of white and Hispanic/Latin adults. However, almost two-thirds of Black adults seemed to still be considering their decision about getting a vaccine.

Half (51%) of vaccine-hesitant adults trust their health care providers for information about the vaccine – but variation in how vaccine-hesitant adults interact with the health care system emphasizes the need for targeted outreach by providers and other trusted community groups.


Doctors and medical care providers are among the most trusted sources of information regarding vaccines. Direct outreach from these trusted sources to vaccine-hesitant populations will be a crucial component of moving past the pandemic as vaccination efforts scale up in the weeks ahead.

This study explored vaccine hesitancy among non-elderly adults with new data from the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS), a nationally representative survey of more than 7,500 adults ages 18 to 64 fielded December 8 through 30, 2020.

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