Connecting state and local government leaders
A new report found 70% of public sector employees were vaccinated, but also reveals some troubling disparities.
State and local government employees are more likely than the general public to have been fully vaccinated from Covid-19, according to a new survey.
About 70% of state and local government employees are fully vaccinated, compared to about 54% of all people in the U.S. over the age of 12, according to a report from MissionSquare Research Institute.
The higher vaccination rate among state and local employees could be due to some workers’ earlier eligibility for the vaccine or a higher comfort level, said Rivka Liss-Levinson, the author of the report.
“If you think about K-12 educators and public safety workers, they had access before. There has been a longer time to get the vaccine,” she said.
But early vaccinations among government workers may have also helped alleviate concerns or tamp down on misinformation about the efficacy or side effects of the vaccine, Liss-Levinson said.
“People saw their colleagues get vaccines and saw they were OK,” she said.
The report, which was based on a May survey of 1,203 full-time state and local government employees, found that about 65% of government employers are encouraging employees to get vaccinated.
Beyond the 70% of workers who have been vaccinated, another 10% said they intend to get vaccinated at some point.
The survey also highlighted a racial disparity in vaccinations that has been prevalent in the general population as well—only 44% of Black government workers said they had been vaccinated, compared to 75% of white workers.
Tailoring Vaccine Outreach
The top three factors government workers said influenced them to get vaccinated include the desire to protect their health, protect the health of family and friends, and to be able to resume travel again.
Based on those responses, Liss-Levinson suggests governments could focus on how well the vaccines prevent infection or transmission of Covid-19 in future employee outreach in order to boost vaccination rates further.
“People don’t want to get sick at work and pass it on to family,” she said.
On the flip side, the reasons that government workers said they were hesitant to get the vaccine indicate there is a greater need for more reliable information about the vaccine, Liss-Levinson said.
Concern about side effects of the vaccine and a general lack of information about how well the vaccines work were the top two factors at play in government employees’ decisions not to be vaccinated, according to the survey. Simplifying the data on vaccine efficacy and communicating that to government workers could likely help cut through some of the misinformation out there, Liss-Levinson said.
Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.