A third of Louisianians have no intention of getting vaccine, survey finds

LSU students line up to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination event at Tiger Stadium (JC Canicosa/Louisiana Illuminator)

A third of Louisianians have no intention of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, while 17 percent have already received the COVID-19 vaccine and another 41 percent said they plan on getting it, according to the latest report of the Louisiana Survey.

Michael Henderson, director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Center, said what surprised him most about the survey respondent’s’ vaccine hesitancy were the demographics. Henderson said there were concerns that “because of the racial history in the United States with respect to medical health and public health, there may be some skepticism — particularly among Black Americans — about getting vaccinated.”

However, more Black Louisianians (67 percent) than White Louisianians (57 percent) reported they would get the vaccine once it became available to them. And the survey found that White Republicans were the most likely to say that they have not yet received a vaccine and they don’t intend to, which Henderson said was due to the “politicization of everything associated with the pandemic over the past year.”

In fact, just 18 percent of Black Louisianians said they don’t intend to get the vaccine while 35 percent of White Louisianians said they wouldn’t get it.

The state opened up vaccinations to all Louisianians 16 years and older this week.

Researchers in the Public Policy Research Lab (PPRL) at LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs polled 781 adult residents from across the state from Jan. 4 to March 1 to find out how Louisianans view their government and its policies and what they say are the state’s most pressing issues.

Other key findings were:

  • 31% of residents say they lost their job or loss of income because of the pandemic
  • A racial gap in in-person learning. Among White parents, with children in kindergarten through 12th grade, 82% say their child attends entirely in-person, compared to 45% of Black parents. Henderson said the racial divide was mostly due to the “urban/non-urban divide” as “the majority of Louisiana’s black population is concentrated in cities,” which were slower to open back up to in-person instruction than non-urban areas.
  • “Forty-nine percent of state residents approve of the state’s handling of the outbreak, while 38% disapprove – for a net approval of +11 percentage points.”
  • There is bipartisan support (75 percent) for Louisiana to continue to allow more days of early voting, but “enormous partisan differences” on whether or not to continue allowing more mail-in voting. Ninety percent of self-identified Democrats said they’d support allowing more mail-in voting, compared to 10% of self-identified Republican.

The survey also found that 56% of parents of students felt their child learned less over the past year than they would have if not for the pandemic. Still 77% said they were satisfied with the instruction provided by their child’s school during the pandemic and 21 percent of parents were dissatisfied.

“Educators across Louisiana have done hero’s work to create safe environments for children while also fulfilling their responsibility to provide students with a daily education,” Louisiana state Superintendent Cade Brumley said in a statement to the Illuminator. “The successful reopening of our schools is thanks to our teachers, leaders and families working together with a student-first mindset.”