Nearly two-thirds of Marylanders surveyed in a recent Goucher College poll — 64% — plan to get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as they can, or have already received at least one dose.
An additional 15% said they plan to wait to see how the vaccines are working, and 18% said they would get vaccinated only if required or will “definitely not” get a vaccine.
The poll, released Monday, was conducted by researchers at Goucher’s Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center from Feb. 23 to Feb. 28. Some 725 Marylanders were questioned by phone.
More Maryland residents seem willing to get vaccinated than in October, when Goucher College pollsters most recently asked about vaccine hesitancy.
Then, at a time when the U.S. government hadn’t yet approved any coronavirus vaccines, 49% of respondents said they wouldn’t get an FDA-approved shot and 48% said they would.
So far, 16.7% of Maryland residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 9.2% have received both required doses. Experts have said that upward of 60% to 70% of Americans would need to be immune to the virus, either through infection or inoculation, to achieve herd immunity, the point at which enough people become immune to the virus to make its spread unlikely.
Pollsters found that respondents’ willingness to get vaccinated varied along political lines. Among Maryland Democrats, 71% said they’d get a vaccine or already had; for Republicans, that figure was 54%.Some 28% of Republicans said they would get a vaccine only if required or they were “definitely not” going to get a shot, compared with 13% of Democrats.
Black and white respondents didn’t differ significantly in their attitudes toward the vaccines — 62% and 68% planned to get inoculated, respectively. But 45% of Marylanders of other races said they plan to get the vaccine, 29% plan to wait to see and 23% are avoiding it.
Pollsters also asked Maryland residents how they felt about Maryland’s distribution of the vaccines. A plurality of respondents, 40%, said the state was doing a “fair” job, 26% said the state was doing a “poor” job, 25% said the state was doing a “good” job, and 7% said the state was doing “excellent.”
Maryland has consistently ranked in the bottom half of states based on how quickly it administers its allotment of doses from the federal government, although its ranking has improved of late. For a time, the state was in the bottom third.
State residents have criticized Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration over vaccine distribution, citing a confusing and at times labor-intensive sign-up process for scarce vaccine appointments. Many have called on the state to establish a single registration site instead of multiple ones run by or serving,pharmacies, hospitals, local health departments, and mass vaccination facilities.
Hogan’s administration has largely resisted a centralized website, arguing that with a variety of public and private registration sites the state is casting a wider net and that a one-stop site could become a single site of failure. State officials have touted high vaccination numbers of late. On both Friday and Saturday, the state set records for the number of new first doses administered. As of Sunday, the state has administered a total of more than 1 million first doses.
Overall, 35% of Goucher poll respondents said they strongly approved of Hogan’s response to the coronavirus, and 41% said they approved. Meanwhile, 11% disapproved and another 11% strongly disapproved.
The numbers represented a slight dip from data captured in October. Then, 41% of Marylanders strongly approved of the Republican governor’s handling of the pandemic and another 41% approved.
The poll found that a majority of Marylanders — 56% — see the state’s reopening pace for businesses as “about right.” Compared with the October Goucher poll, a greater chunk of respondents felt the state was moving too slowly to reopen businesses — 26% compared with 16%.
Maryland residents were more divided when it came to reopening schools, according to the poll. About 37% said the pace was “about right,” 31% said it was too quick and 29% said it was too slow.
A plurality of Maryland residents polled, 39%, said they think a “return to normal” could take place before the end of the year. About 34% said it’s likely to be later than this year, 13% said by the summer, 8% said never, and 3% said in the next month or two.