Virus Outbreak Louisiana Vaccine

Ochsner BR Phamacy Director Heather Maturin unpacks the vials of the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be used at Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

(The Center Square) – Almost one-third of Louisiana residents, including almost half of the state’s Republicans, don’t want to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a new poll.

LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs conducts the annual Louisiana Survey. The center released the second of five reports Thursday based on the results.

By early March, 17% of Louisiana adults had received a COVID-19 vaccination, while 41% planned to get one when they could, according to the survey. Gov. John Bel Edwards has expanded vaccine eligibility in stages based on age, health conditions and line of work, though anyone age 16 or older now is eligible.

However, 32% have not yet received the vaccine and do not intend to do so. Nine percent are not sure whether they will receive the vaccine.

The report noted a “stark partisan divide” in thinking about COVID-19 vaccination. Among Democrats, 78% either already received the vaccination or intend to do so, while 13% of Democrats said they will not get the vaccine. Another 9% remained unsure.

While about half of Republicans (49%) said they either already have received or will receive the vaccine, 43% said they will not. Another 8% remained unsure.

The survey also found racial differences in attitudes about the vaccines. While similar shares of Black residents and white residents – 18% and 19%, respectively – reported they already have received the vaccine, a larger share of Black residents (49%) than white residents (38%) intended to get the vaccine when they can.

The survey also found:

• 1 in 8 Louisiana residents said they have tested positive for COVID-19, while 79% of adults said they personally knew someone who tested positive and 48% said they personally knew someone who died from the disease;

• About one-third (31%) of Louisiana residents said they lost their job or had a loss of income because of the pandemic. About 27% lived with someone who suffered the loss of a job or income;

• About half (49%) of state residents approved of the state’s handling of the outbreak, while 38% disapproved;

• Most white parents (82%) with children in kindergarten through 12th grade said their child attends school entirely in-person, while 45% of Black parents said the same. Fifty-six percent of parents thought their child learned less over the past year than they would have if not for the pandemic, although 77% were satisfied with the instruction provided by their child’s school;

• 74% said “requiring people to wear masks in public places is important to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” while 25% said “requiring people to wear masks in public places is an unnecessary violation of personal freedom;”

• 75% of state residents supported the state continuing to allow more days of early voting, as was allowed during the pandemic, while about half (49%) supported continuing to allow more people to vote by mail;

• 58% of residents said the state should regulate high-speed home internet like a public utility to ensure everyone has access. Sixty-three percent supported spending state tax dollars to extend high-speed home internet access to parts of Louisiana currently without it, and 52% favored public subsidies to help low-income Louisianans purchase home internet service.

• While 80% supported requiring employers to provide paid family leave when the question does not mention how the cost would be covered, support dipped to 73% when employers and employees are said to share the cost; 58% supported paid family leave when the state covers the cost.

Staff Reporter

David Jacobs is a Baton Rouge-based award-winning journalist who has written about government, politics, business and culture in Louisiana for almost 15 years. He joined The Center Square in 2018.