Change in Vaccine Intent Among Kansas Adults — Issue 6

4 Min Read

May 06, 2021


Emily Burgen, M.P.H.,

Wen-Chieh Lin, Ph.D.

Key Points

    • Kansas adults who were “uncertain” about getting a COVID-19 vaccine fell from almost one half (46.5 percent) in January to three in 10 (30.0 percent) in March, representing a one-third drop.
    • However, as of late March, 7.9 percent of Kansas adults still say they “would definitely not get a vaccine,” which is similar to 8.3 percent in January.
    • Kansas experienced a nearly six-fold increase in adults with at least one vaccine dose in the past two months (48.9 percent in late March compared to 8.4 percent in mid-January).

Changes in the Reasons for Uncertainty about Getting Vaccine

    • Concerns about side effects or the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines remained high among those who were uncertain about getting a vaccine (49.4 and 47.2 percent in late March compared to 49.1 and 53.9 percent in mid-January).
    • Among Kansas adults who were uncertain about getting a vaccine, 9.1 percent said they “don’t believe COVID-19 is a serious illness” up from 5.0 percent in January.
    • Among the 7.9 percent of Kansas adults who say they “would definitely not get a vaccine,” a lack of trust in the vaccines has emerged as the most prominent reason (55.2 percent in March compared to 41.6 percent in January), and a lack of trust in the government (41.9 percent in March compared to 33.2 percent in January) is also among the top reasons given.

Kansas has made progress on COVID-19 vaccination. As of March 29, 2021, almost half (48.9 percent) of Kansas adults had received at least one dose, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. This is a six-fold increase from 8.4 percent in mid-January. However, more efforts are needed to reach a level of immunity that can protect the population from infection (herd immunity). Comparing the most recent Household Pulse Survey data from late March to data from mid-January could increase understanding of changes in intent to get a vaccine and the leading reasons for continued hesitance, which could help public health professionals devise effective strategies to reach more Kansans who have not been vaccinated. The Household Pulse Survey considers those who report they “would probably,” “would probably not” and “would definitely not” get a vaccine as “uncertain” about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. For the most up-to-date information on the number of Kansans who have received COVID-19 vaccines, please refer to the KDHE website.


On March 29, 2021, all Kansans age 16 and older became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines when the state moved to the fifth and final phase of the vaccination prioritization plan by population. This policy change may be encouraging to those who were waiting to get a vaccine because they felt others needed it more (25.8 percent of those uncertain about getting the vaccine). However, concerns over the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and possible side effects continue to be major drivers of uncertainty. Additionally, the proportion of people who would definitely not get a vaccine has remained similar since January, and their distrust of government and COVID-19 vaccines has strengthened. For Kansas to reach herd immunity, public health professionals face the challenge of how to devise strategies and craft tailored messages to reach out to Kansans who, for different reasons, are still uncertain about getting a vaccine. The work could involve enlisting help from people from various professions and with a range of political or religious backgrounds.

The Household Pulse Survey is an ongoing federal survey that provides policymakers with near real-time information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas and across the United States. This valuable resource allows for a deeper, data-driven understanding of the impact that the pandemic is having on our communities. This Pulse on Kansas is one in a series focusing on the economic, social and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas.

About Kansas Health Institute

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.

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