Is COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Beginning to Wane in the US?

covid vaccine with question mark
Covid-19 vaccine bottle and red question mark. 3D render. 3D illustration.
Researchers conducted a study to determine the association between initial COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and subsequent vaccine receipt among individuals in the United States.

Results of a cohort study on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the United States found that hesitancy has begun to wane among many individuals. These findings were published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers from Emory University conducted a study to assess the association between baseline COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and subsequent receipt of the vaccine among individuals nationwide between August and December 2020 and again between March and April 2021. The researchers measured vaccine hesitancy and obtained blood sample specimens to measure antibody responses to confirm participants’ responses on a self-reported vaccination status survey.

Among 4654 participants who responded at baseline, of whom 59% were women and the mean age was 50.7 ± 17.2 years, 3439 completed follow-up.

At baseline, 1061 participants expressed vaccination hesitancy. Of these participants, 32% had received at least 1 vaccine dose at follow-up, 37% said they were likely to be vaccinated, and 32% remained hesitant to vaccination. Among the 2378 participants who were not hesitant at baseline, 54% had received at least 1 vaccine dose at follow-up, 39% said they were likely to be vaccinated, and 7% became hesitant to vaccination.

The researchers found that participants who were willing to be vaccinated at baseline were more likely to have completed either undergraduate- or graduate-level education vs those who were unwilling (76% vs 65%). There was a similar pattern observed among participants who had been vaccinated by the end of the follow-up period (54% vs 43%). Participants who were White or Hispanic reported similar vaccine willingness at baseline (69% vs 71%, respectively); however, at the end of the follow-up period, those who were White were more likely to have been vaccinated (51% vs 31%).

The researchers noted that self-reported vaccination surveys were associated with a positive predictive value of 98.2%, a negative predictive value of 97.3%, a sensitivity of 94.8%, and a specificity of 99.1%.

This study was limited by its follow-up period which ended before COVID-19 vaccines were made available to all of the included participants.

These data indicated that in the year since COVID-19 vaccines became available in the US, most participants with self-reported vaccine hesitancy had either already been or had planned to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Despite waning vaccine hesitancy, inequities in vaccination have not been alleviated. The researchers concluded that “there is a clear public health opportunity to convert higher vaccine willingness into successfully delivered vaccinations.”

Disclosure: Some author(s) declared affiliations with industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Siegler AJ, Luisi N, Hall EW, et al. Trajectory of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy over time and association of initial vaccine hesitancy with subsequent vaccination. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(9):e2126882. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.26882