The racial disparities in Covid-19 vaccination rates have largely dissipated, with roughly equal percentages of multiple races having received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to a poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) on Tuesday.
What the poll reveals about vaccination rates
KFF's poll, which was conducted between Sept. 13 and Sept. 22, found that nearly equal shares of adults across racial and ethnic lines—including 73% of Hispanic adults, 71% of white adults, and 70% of Black adults—reported receiving at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
That represented a significant closure of racial vaccination gaps since May, when the same poll found that 57% of Hispanic adults, 56% of Black adults, and 65% of white adults had received at least one dose of a vaccine.
A separate survey of more than 10,000 people conducted from Aug. 23 to 29 by the Pew Research Center found similar results, with 76% of Hispanic adults, 72% of white adults, and 70% of Black adults reporting having at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Still, although racial vaccination gaps have narrowed, a stark political divide remains. According to the KFF poll, 90% of Democrats reporting having at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, compared with 68% of Independents and 58% of Republicans. In addition, 23% of Republicans said they would "definitely not" get vaccinated—a higher share than in any other group identified in the poll.
People living in urban areas were more likely to be vaccinated than those in rural areas, with 77% of urban residents reporting having had at least one shot, compared to 62% of rural residents, the poll found.
The groups with the lowest vaccination rates in the survey were uninsured people under the age of 65, Republicans, rural residents, and white evangelical Christians.
How the White House views the poll's findings
Jeffrey Zients, the White House's Covid-19 response coordinator, said the poll "clearly show[s] that our relentless focus on advancing equity and ensuring our response reaches the hardest hit communities and those most at risk has closed the gaps in racial and ethnic vaccination rates. We know our work isn't done, but this is important progress."
Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the White House's Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force, said the numbers in KFF's poll were "very, very encouraging to see."
"They tell the story of an all-of-society effort to get us to where we are today," she said, noting how employers provided staff with paid time off, neighbors drove friends to get vaccinated, and churches allowed their buildings to be used as "trusted spaces for vaccinations."
"It might take a little bit longer, but we are absolutely laser-focused on reaching everyone, making sure people know that vaccines do work [and are] safe and effective. … This is not a political or partisan issue in the least," Nunez-Smith added. "It's a public health crisis, and we have the tools that we know work to get us all safely through and to the other side." (Hayes et al., USA Today, 9/28; Firth, MedPage Today, 9/28; Chatelain, Spectrum News, 9/28)