University of Michigan: More Detroiters say they’re now ‘very likely’ to get COVID-19 vaccine

Survey finds attitude toward vaccine improved in Detroit since fall 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo, Yvonne Gibbs, 72, receives Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, at the TCF Center in Detroit. COVID-19 hit Detroit hard. Michigan, which not long ago had one of the country's lowest COVID-19 infection rates, is confronting an alarming spike that some experts worry could be a harbinger nationally. While vaccinations in Michigan are helping to protect senior citizens and other vulnerable people, the upswing is boosting hospitalizations among younger adults and threatening in-person instruction at schools. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT, Mich. – The number of Detroiters who say they’re “very likely” to get the COVID-19 vaccine when they’re eligible has more than doubled since fall 2020, according to a new University of Michigan survey.

That number now stands at 38% compared to 14% four months ago.

Consistent with the increased likelihood to get the vaccine, those who said they are “very unlikely” to get the vaccine fell from 38% to 25%. Overall, the survey found that Detroiters are split 50-50 on whether or not they would get the vaccine.

Conducted by U-M’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study, the representative survey also offers insights on the factors that drive Detroit residents’ decisions related to the vaccine.

The most important factors for Detroiters in deciding whether or not to get vaccinated are themselves and those around them safe. The least important factors are where the vaccine was manufactured and whether people they know are getting the vaccine.

Read: Looking for COVID-19 vaccines in Metro Detroit: Track openings, clinics, appointments

According to the survey, the greatest discrepancy lies in how city residents view the advice of doctors and the science behind the effectiveness of the vaccine. While 94% of those who responded they are likely to get vaccinated said scientific findings on the effectiveness of vaccines are important to their choice, only 62% of those unlikely to get the vaccine said it was important.

Regarding doctors’ advice, 80% of those likely to vaccinate feel it is important while 54% of those unlikely to vaccinate do.

“DMACS allows us to track how Detroiters’ attitudes about the COVID-19 vaccine have changed over time. Knowing what factors drive their decision making on whether to get the vaccine can inform public health efforts,” Jeffrey Morenoff, one of the faculty research leads for DMACS, professor of public policy and sociology, and research professor at U-M’s Institute for Social Research said in a statement.

Since 2016, DMACS has been conducting surveys of representative samples of Detroit residents. The latest survey received responses from 2,238 residents from Jan. 6 to March 5.

Responses are weighted to align with the city’s population demographics in order to represent views of all Detroiters.

Read: Detroit expanding vaccine eligibility amid surge in COVID-19 cases

This recent survey was supported by and conducted in partnership with Michigan CEAL: Communities Conquering COVID (C3), a transdisciplinary collaboration of community leaders and researchers that aims to reduce health inequities in the state by including marginalized communities in research and prevention of COVID-19.

“The community-based participatory research approach of this project has allowed for community input at all stages of survey development, which strengthened the survey and increased the response rate in our community,” Angela Reyes, executive director of Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation and Michigan CEAL steering committee member said in a statement.

According to a U-M news release, disparities continue for those who will likely get vaccinated against COVID, including:

  • Residents of color were significantly less likely to say they plan to get the vaccine than white residents.
  • On average, men are more likely to say they will get the vaccine than women.
  • Likelihood of vaccination increases significantly with education and income.
  • Residents who say they have no trust in the U.S. government as a source for COVID-19 information are half as likely to plan to get the vaccine compared to those with some trust or high trust in the government.

“The DMACS team and the results of this survey have made important contributions to the mission of the Michigan C3 partnership to understand inequities among Black and Latinx residents in Detroit in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Barbara Israel, professor of public health and one of the multiple principal investigators for the Michigan CEAL Partnership, said in a statement.

“We are grateful for and inspired by the findings from this study, which will help inform our work moving forward to address these inequities.”

Read: Dr. Joneigh Khaldun voices concern as COVID cases in Michigan increase

In addition to attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccine, DMACS surveys have also revealed the impact the pandemic has had on the city’s neighborhoods. Residents have reported increased business closures, lower neighborhood satisfaction and stalled progress on public safety and beautification projects since late 2019.

The number of those very satisfied with their neighborhood fell from 20% in late 2019 to 14% in 2021. The number of residents who responded that their neighborhoods were getting safer fell 50% from a year ago until now.

“While we have clear evidence of the toll the pandemic has had on health and economic well-being, the full toll of the pandemic on communities will continue to emerge over time,” Lydia Wileden, a doctoral candidate at U-M who analyzed the DMACS COVID-19 survey data, said in a statement.

According to a U-M news release, other findings from the newest DMACS survey include:

  • Eighty-five percent of residents said in the past week they wore a mask all of the time when in public, 80% said they always wash their hands multiple times a day, and 71% said they are always maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from nonhousehold members.
  • In March, Detroit’s unemployment rate is approximately 26%, which is roughly equivalent to the unemployment rate estimated in October 2020 and more than twice the unemployment rate estimated a year ago, prior to the pandemic.
  • The proportion of residents who say the pandemic is creating major challenges accessing healthcare, having a place to live, and getting medication fell significantly between fall 2020 and spring 2021.