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Statewide survey shows that 65% of Nevadans and 77% of Nevada health care workers are likely to get COVID-19 vaccine, once available

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December 2020 survey report shows results from over 5,000 residents and nearly 1,000 health care providers from across the state

RENO, Nev. — Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med), in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Community Health Sciences, Immunize Nevada and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services released the first findings from a study to learn what Nevadans think about COVID-19 vaccines, and their acceptance toward taking the vaccine - once one is available to them.

A December 2020 report shows data from over 5,000 Nevada residents who took part in the survey and nearly 1,000 health care providers from across the state, during the period of Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, 2020. This is the first of ongoing reports that the research group will publish throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is accessible on the Immunize Nevada website, at bit.ly/2Ljsqa8.

Researchers found that 65% of the public stated they would likely get the vaccine once it becomes available to them. Factors associated with a decreased likelihood include race and ethnicity. Black, Hispanic and rural residents were found to be more hesitant about the vaccine.

Researchers also found that among those who define themselves as health care workers, 77% are likely to get the vaccine, and 83% would recommend it to their patients. Higher rates of getting and recommending the vaccine are reported among physicians and pharmacists.

Two different surveys that are ongoing throughout the duration of the pandemic are being used to assess Nevadans’ attitudes, understanding and utilization of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as health care providers, medical students and trainees’ attitudes towards taking themselves, and making patient recommendations for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“While it’s not exactly certain, public health experts suggest that herd protection (or community immunity) will require 80 to 90% of the population to be vaccinated,” said Mark Riddle, M.D., Dr.P.H., associate dean of clinical research and professor at UNR Med’s Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Research, and a lead investigator on the study.

“We appreciate the public’s and provider’s willingness and time to take this survey, said Riddle. “We’re continuing to ask people to participate, as it’s important to learn how effective our conversations are. We also need to know how to improve the needed knowledge and information for us to each make the best decision on getting vaccinated. The survey data will help to serve as a basis for important conversations in our communities about the safety, efficacy and importance of getting vaccinated in order to help us return our community and lives back to normal.”

Dr. Riddle was a guest on the Jan. 13 Washoe County Health District media availability and discussed the survey study and findings. His recorded update is available online, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfzYkPC4eLg&feature=youtu.be

Nevada received its first allocation of COVID-19 vaccine doses on Dec. 14. To date, there are more than 252,000 total cases and more than 3,500 people have died from COVID-19 in Nevada.

Public and provider surveys

The public and health care providers are invited to participate in the ongoing research study by taking one of the two surveys.

The surveys are completely anonymous, but ask questions about who the participants are and what they know and think about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and information sources. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Participants may pick and choose what questions they answer. The survey can only be completed online and is anonymous.

Interested participants can also find links to the surveys at UNR Med’s Medical Research website at: https://med.unr.edu/office-of-medical-research

Survey responses will be accepted through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, and people can take the survey multiple times as researchers want to measure how knowledge and attitudes may change.