Four out of five Maine adults say they are likely to get the coronavirus vaccine when they are eligible, a higher percentage than most U.S. states, according to a new federal survey.
It suggests vaccine supply, not hesitancy, is likely to remain the state’s most significant constraint, as interest in this vaccine exceeds usual demand for others, such as the flu shot. As of Tuesday, nearly 177,000 Mainers — about 13 percent of the population — had received at least one vaccine dose, while 73,000 had received both doses, according to state data.
About 62 percent of Maine adults who have not yet received the vaccine say they definitely plan to get vaccinated, according to a survey the U.S. Census Bureau conducted over several weeks in January and early February. That share was eighth highest among states. Another 18.6 percent of Mainers said they would probably take the vaccine once it is available to them.
Early demand has been evident in Maine as appointments at clinics across the state have filled quickly. Mainers aged 70 and up are currently eligible for vaccines, while those between the ages of 65 and 69 could become eligible in March, according to state officials.
Only 11 percent of Mainers in the survey said they would definitely not get vaccinated. Hesitancy was lowest among older people, with only 2.4 percent of those age 65 and over saying they did not plan to receive a vaccine.
Nationwide, 54.8 percent say they definitely will get vaccinated. Rates vary widely between states, though Maine and its New England neighbors occupy six of the top 10 spots with 68 percent in Massachusetts residents saying they will definitely get the vaccine. The lowest-ranked state is Mississippi, where 37 percent said they will definitely get it.
Interest in the coronavirus vaccine in Maine also looks to be greater than demand for other vaccinations. Over the last few years, about 45 percent of Mainers have typically gotten the seasonal flu vaccine, according to Medicare data.
Among people who said they were not likely to get the coronavirus vaccine, both in Maine and nationwide, the most commonly cited reason was concern of side effects, the Census survey found. Mild side effects that generally occur with all vaccines, such as soreness at the injection site or a low-grade fever, are relatively common with COVID-19 shots, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but serious side effects are rare.