The intention to be vaccinated against COVID-19 increased across all vaccine priority groups in late 2020, but interest in getting a shot remained low among people younger than 65, a new study has found. 

In September to December 2020, vaccination intent rose by approximately 10% among all adults, with the largest increase in people aged 65 years and older, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers. But vaccine hesitancy still was strong in December, with only half of respondents aged 18 to 64 years saying they would be “very likely” to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at that time. This was true even among essential workers and people underlying medical conditions.

Younger adults, women, non-Hispanic Black adults, adults living in nonmetropolitan areas, and adults with less education and income and without health insurance continue to have the highest estimates of non-intent to receive COVID-19 vaccination, reported epidemiologist Kimberly H. Nguyen, DrPH, of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and colleagues.

The authors are optimistic about the overall increase in vaccine acceptance. Although the results likely reveal ongoing concerns about vaccine safety among priority populations, the uptick in willingness may be a sign that messages and strategies from clinicians could further boost confidence in COVID-19 vaccination going forward, they said.

“Health care providers are known to be a trusted source of information about vaccines for many persons and can use CDC-recommended guidance to have effective conversations with patients about the need for vaccination,” Nguyen and team wrote. “Ensuring high and equitable vaccination coverage in all populations is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and bringing an end to the pandemic,” they concluded.

In related news:

Nursing home workers say vaccine hesitancy not the same as refusal  Some nursing home staffers say their reluctance to be vaccinated is being misconstrued, according to Kaiser Health News. “Most are not saying they’ll never take the vaccine, but simply that they have concerns about such a new product,” according to the news outlet. “They understand it went through months of clinical trials, but what about possible long-term side effects, for instance? … For communities of color, historical mistreatment by the medical system can also factor in the decision,” Aneri Pattani wrote.

“We should stop saying that people are just saying no,” Kimberly Manning, M.D., told KHN. Manning, a professor at Emory University School of Medicine, is participating in the Moderna vaccine trial, but she said she understands hesitancy. She recommends empathy and patience, and refers to holdouts as “slow yeses.”