USF survey reveals biggest driver of vaccine hesitancy in Florida

Researchers at the University of South Florida surveyed 600 people and more than half of them had gotten at least one dose and the rest had not. The number one reason for not getting vaccinated was the concern about potential side effects.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 9 million Floridians have rolled up their sleeves and are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

But others still aren’t.

Researchers at the University of South Florida surveyed 600 people to better understand what’s driving vaccine hesitancy in Florida.

The first thing researchers learned was more than half of those surveyed – 64% -- had gotten at least one dose.

That lines up with what state health officials have reported: More than half of adults in Florida – 58% percent -- have gotten at least one dose.

Of the 600 people USF surveyed, 35.3% say they will “probably not” or definitely not” get vaccinated and 24.3% were still undecided.

Of those not vaccinated, the No. 1 one reason given was that they’re concerned about potential side effects.

Of those who said “probably” or “definitely not,” nearly three quarters said they were worried about possible side effects.

Participants could pick more than one reason -- and nearly half said they thought the vaccines were created too quickly.

About 20% said they don’t believe the vaccines work against the spread of the virus.

The study also revealed something interesting.

Of those who took the survey, 73% reported hearing misinformation about the vaccine over the last six months.

The main bits of misinformation people reported hearing were that the vaccine

  • contained a live strain of the virus
  • contained 5G Microchips
  • or that the COVID-19 vaccines can modify your genetics and alter your DNA

The USF study also found the people who responded were divided on whether Florida schools should require students to be vaccinated.

They felt the same way about theme parks. There was a little more support, though, for mandatory vaccinations for cruise ship passengers.

For the full results of the survey, click here.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.