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During the first week of January, the Missouri Hospital Association had a firm survey 800 Missourians and found only about 58 percent were very or somewhat likely to seek a COVID-19 vaccine when it comes available for them, according to a report released Monday.

Missouri remains in Phase 1A of its vaccination rollout, meaning vaccinations are being offered to front-line health care workers and residents of nursing facilities.

"Broad vaccination is the key to response and recovery in Missouri," Herb Kuhn, MHA president and CEO, said in the report. "Although the vaccine is not available to the public currently, it will be essential to have an informed, confident and energized public as we move into the widespread distribution phase of vaccination efforts."

Despite scientists having determined vaccines to be safe and effective, "a significant portion" of Missouri's voting-age adults are not likely to accept it, the report found.

"Those least likely to get the vaccine include middle-age voting adults, Republicans and those who identify as conservative," the report found.

There are also "substantial hesitations" with African Americans nationally. However, that is not as greatly reflected in Missouri, the report says.

Older voting adults, especially males and Democrats, are most likely to accept the vaccine immediately upon it being available, according to the report.

National data from a survey released this week show greater hesitancy to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines in rural areas than in most other parts of the United States.

The Kaiser Family Foundation survey found about 35 percent of people living in rural areas said they probably (or definitely) would not receive the vaccine. By comparison, about 27 percent of suburban residents and 26 percent of urban residents showed the same hesitancy.

In its findings, KFF — a San Francisco-based nonprofit that focuses on major health care issues and the role of the United States in global health — found numerous factors associated with a person's willingness to receive a vaccination. Those factors included age, level of education, "and notably, political party identification, with Republicans much less likely to say they will get a coronavirus vaccine compared to Democrats and Independents."

"Even after controlling for these factors, however, people living in rural areas are more likely to be vaccine hesitant than suburban and urban residents," the survey said. "This, in part, may reflect rural residents' views of the pandemic."

Rural residents are just as likely to say they know someone who has tested positive for the virus, or died from coronavirus, but about 39 percent say they are not worried they or someone in their family will get sick, KFF reported. Of urban residents, about 23 percent say they are not worried and about 30 percent of suburban residents say they are not worried, according to the report.

"Most rural residents (62 percent) view getting vaccinated as mostly a personal choice, rather than part of everyone's responsibility to protect the health of others (36 percent)," the report says. "In contrast, most urban residents (55 percent) and nearly half of suburban residents (47 percent) view getting vaccinated as part of everyone's responsibility."

The majority of respondents to the survey said they trust their doctors' opinions on the vaccines.

Eighty-six percent of rural residents say they would trust their doctor or health care provider about the vaccine, while 68 percent say they trust the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 66 percent say they trust the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 64 percent trust their local public health departments, and 55 percent say they trust state government officials. The report noted 59 percent say they trust Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

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