Excerpt of front-page article by Alex Putterman, Sunday, 8/29/21 

Connecticut’s unvaccinated residents are disproportionately likely to fit one of a few categories.

Many are Black and Latino people living in the state’s largest cities, survey data shows. Many others are white, rural residents who lean conservative. Many are in their teens and 20s. On average, they have lower incomes than the vaccinated. Their opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine is informed, depending on the person, by reasons that include fear of side effects, distrust of government and the belief that they will not become seriously ill if infected. [....]

With 73% of residents — and 84% of those age 12 and up — having received at least one vaccine dose, Connecticut ranks at the third most vaccinated state in the U.S. But that topline number belies disparities within the state: In some towns, more than 80% of residents are vaccinated. In others, barely half are.

According to a survey from the nonprofit DataHaven, vaccination is split along not only geographic lines but also racial, socioeconomic and political ones.

  • About 90% of Connecticut Democrats are vaccinated, the survey found, compared to about 70% of Republicans.
  • An estimated 95% of Asian adults and 85% of white adults are vaccinated, compared to 73% of Black adults and 67% of Latino adults.
  • About 75% of low-income adults in Connecticut are vaccinated, compared to just under 90% of those who make $100,000 or more annually.
  • About 40% of unvaccinated adults in Connecticut are between the ages of 18 and 34, while only 12% are 65 or older.

Of course, exceptions to these patterns abound. Unvaccinated people live in all parts of the state, span the political spectrum and harbor a range of concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. [....]

As of June, only 36% of unvaccinated Connecticut adults were decisive that they would never get their shots, according to a DataHaven survey, while the rest remained open to it.

Sure enough, Connecticut’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution picked up in July and early August amid rising cases and a growing number of mandates from schools and employers. With transmission still high, the FDA having officially approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, some amount of vaccination will likely continue in the coming weeks. [....]

Regardless, progress is likely to be slow. Especially in Connecticut, where such a strong majority of eligible residents are vaccinated, health officials may eventually run out of people to convince.

The Waterbury vaccine outreach team said it’s uncommon for residents they speak with to sign up for vaccination on the spot but that they hope that getting the word out about clinics helps the cause. One outreach member, Louis Howard, recalled with pride getting an unvaccinated person to show up for a shot.

“It was at Taco Bell,” Howard said. “He was sitting down and I gave him a flyer, and we had an event that day and he went to the event and got vaccinated.”