On Thursday, April 8, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) released findings from a new public opinion poll on COVID-19 vaccine risks and rewards in the minds of people across the state.

The poll gives the state some good news regarding people’s opinions of COVID-19 vaccinations.  It showed quite a contrast from some of the same polling questions asked in 2020.  Trust in the vaccines has gone up and so have the number of people who say they will be or already have been vaccinated.

“Findings show a clear and welcome improvement in North Carolinians’ attitudes related to COVID-19 vaccines,” the NCDHHS press release stated.  “When compared with the same survey conducted last fall, vaccine risk perceptions have dropped significantly overall, while the perceived rewards of being vaccinated have risen. The number of people who would recommend COVID-19 vaccination to family and friends nearly doubled from 30 percent in November to 59 percent in March.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said these results will help guide the state’s vaccination response strategy.

“With the public’s health at stake, and health equity a priority, it was important for NCDHHS to understand where and how to focus outreach and education, and who our communities look to for trusted information,” Cohen said.

According to the study, the most widely shared reasons for getting vaccinated were the desire to return to a normal existence and to protect oneself and others.

Cohen said it’s very good news that the majority of North Carolinians want to get vaccinated and that they’ll encourage others to do the same.

The results came just days after the state has opened up the eligibility to get vaccinated for everyone 16 and older. 

Also, each day it gets easier to find an open appointment to get vaccinated.  At the start of the process, it didn’t matter how many people wanted the vaccine because only a limited number of shots were available.

The majority of the new survey’s respondents – about seven in ten North Carolinians – either have gotten vaccinated, have an appointment, or say they’re likely to get a shot.  Also, most of those spoken to didn’t care which vaccine they got and planned to go for the first one available.