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.