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New Poll: Unvaccinated Black Virginians More Likely to Get a Shot Than White Virginians


A new poll reveals racial disparity among people who are reluctant to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Among people who have not yet been vaccinated, Black people in Virginia are much more likely to say they're willing to get vaccinated than white people. That's according to a new poll from the Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Former Governor Wilder says the poll reveals a divide that's not helpful.

"There's a failure of communication of some sort," he says. "Where did that failure come from? Immunity? Do you feel that because you are white you’re immune to it?"

Of those who have not been vaccinated, 15% of African Americans say they're willing to get vaccinated, while only 6% of white respondents say they're willing to get vaccinated.

"This is not a racial thing," Wilder explains. "This is a national disaster that could multiply worse, and so let's deal with what we have as best we can now and then have a better message at the national and state levels as it relates to combating diseases of this kind and all others."

About half of the unvaccinated said they did not believe getting vaccinated was necessary. And three quarters worry the vaccines were developed too quickly. Wilder says the poll shows a need for a better strategy of messaging surrounding vaccination, especially with the threat of variants on the horizon.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.