USC Study: College Education Now A Bigger Factor Than Race In Likelihood Of COVID-19 Vaccination

Findings from a recent USC Dornsife Understanding Coronavirus in America survey found that 76%, or three out of four, U.S. adults with at least a bachelor’s degree have already been vaccinated or plan to be, in contrast with just over half of those with a college degree.

USC Study: College Education Now A Bigger Factor Than Race In Likelihood Of COVID-19 Vaccination

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A college education is now more likely to play a bigger role in whether people have already been vaccinated or plan to do so, a new study from USC found.

Findings from a recent USC Dornsife Understanding Coronavirus in America survey found that 76%, or three out of four, U.S. adults with at least a bachelor’s degree have already been vaccinated or plan to be, in contrast with just over half of those with a college degree. Researchers say this is a marked shift from earlier in the pandemic.

Lorraine Harvey, an in home care worker, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Rudolfo Garcia at a clinic at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in South Los Angeles on February 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. African Americans and Latinos comprise a majority of the South LA community and are dying of COVID-19 at a rate significantly higher than whites. Vaccine equity has also lagged in South Los Angeles relative to some more wealthy areas. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“Results of our surveys earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic – before vaccines were approved – indicated that race and ethnicity would play a greater role than education level in people’s willingness to get the vaccine,” Jill Darling, survey director of the study, said in a statement. “But one year into this pandemic, with vaccines now being rolled out across the U.S., education level has become a greater factor than race.”

The study also found that college-educated adults are more likely to personally know someone who has been vaccinated.

Vaccines in California have mostly been available to healthcare workers and seniors, but are starting to be distributed to teachers and essential workers. Vaccinations are expected to pick up going into March and April.

The study still found some hesitancy among a substantial share of Black adults without a college degree about getting the vaccine. There was also a small gap in the willingness to get the vaccines between Asian Americans with and without a college degree.

Researchers say the hesitancy is due to a lack of trust in vaccine development and its approval process.

“Our findings indicate that, in addition to tailoring vaccine awareness campaigns to high-risk groups, policymakers should emphasize the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines particularly to those without college degrees,” Kayla Thomas, an associate sociologist at Center for Economic and Social Research at USC Dornsife, said in a statement.