National firm reveals stats from COVID-19 survey among 768 Tri-Cities residents

Local Coronavirus Coverage

TRI-CITIES, Tenn./Va. (WJHL) — Region AHEAD requested that a national research firm break down statistics found from a poll that surveyed 768 people who reside in the 22-county region that makes up Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Nearly 1,200 people began the survey but had to opt out because they had already begun the vaccination process; that left 768 people to answer questions regarding whether or not they plan to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The survey found that roughly half of respondents — 48% — were from Washington County, Tennessee, which tends to skew toward higher income, education and more diversity.

Fewer than half of the respondents revealed they believe COVID-19’s impact on the region is accurately represented. While this means that more than half don’t believe they’ve received accurate information regarding COVID-19, the survey found that 65% of the respondents plan to get vaccinated at the first available appointment.


I am pro-vaccination and believe in the science professionals over the political misinformation. While the speed at which it was given was out of the norm, I believe that it was given the proper review and protocol. Even though I have never taken a flu shot because I have never had the flu, I consider Covid-19 to be very serious and a hindrance to the well-being of me and my family.

Male respondent, Washington County, TN, 45-54 years old.

This leaves 16% that responded that they will eventually get vaccinated but are waiting, 11% aren’t sure, and 8% will not.

Smarty Pants broke down the demographic subgroups of respondents.

Photo: Smarty Pants

Photo: Smarty Pants

The survey revealed that those who plan to wait do so for the following reasons and held the following beliefs:

  • Pregnant or already had COVID-19: 19%
  • Low risk/ too busy/ don’t fear/ long lines: 18%
  • It’s the right thing to do to help community: 11%
  • Worry over long-term side effects: 10%
  • I want to protect myself: 10%
  • Vaccine was rushed/ unsafe: 9%
  • I trust the vaccine: 6%
  • Scared: 5%
  • Miscellaneous: 4%
  • Return to normal life: 4%
  • Worry over short-term side effects: 3%
  • My job is high-risk: 3%
  • Protect my family and friends: 3%
  • I’m high risk: 2%

Photo: Smarty Pants

Those who are undecided have the following concerns, according to the survey:

  • Don’t trust THIS vaccine/ rushed/ unsafe: 33%
  • Worry over long-term side effects: 30%
  • Worry over short-term side effects: 23%
  • Scared: 13%
  • Don’t like medications/ allergies/ religion: 10%
  • Pregnant or already had COVID-19: 10%
  • Low risk/ too busy/ don’t fear/ long lines: 6%
  • Miscellaneous: 6%
  • To protect myself: 2%
  • No response: 1%

Photo: Smarty Pants

Those who are undecided have the following concerns, according to the survey:

  • Don’t trust THIS vaccine/ rushed/ unsafe: 61%
  • Don’t like medications/ allergies/ religion: 18%
  • Worry over long-term side effects: 18%
  • Low risk/ don’t fear/ too busy/ long lines: 13%
  • Worry over short-term side effects: 8%
  • Miscellaneous: 6%
  • Pregnant or already had COVID-19: 3%
  • No response: 3%

News Channel 11 spoke with Smarty Pants Founder and Chief Wynne Tyree, who said that those who remain undecided are skeptical on many different levels.

“There’s a real hunger for scientific, factual information,” Tyree said. “People want to know what’s in the vaccine. Are we sure that it’s effective; how long will it be effective? Was it tested vigorously enough? What might the long-term impact be? What might some of the short-term side effects be?

“There’s a real hunger for impartial scientific information about the vaccine.”

Another finding included the disparity of those who answered they would definitely not take the vaccine. Twelve percent of men responded they would definitely not take it, in comparison to 6% of women responding this way.

“There are many questions that are open-ended where they literally type in their answers,” Tyree said. “And we could see a difference in the style and content of the responses based on gender as well.

“A lot of men — disproportionally men — have very strong feelings about politics and about personal autonomy, about ‘Do not tell me what to do with my body; this is my decision; step away.’ Whereas women tend to skew more toward open and needing a little more information. No matter how we sliced or diced the data through close-ended questions or those open-ended ones, there’s a pretty consistent feeling amongst men that — and again, we’re talking about a minority of men in general; we’re talking about 12% and 6% — are twice as likely to have those strong feelings about, ‘You can’t tell me what to do.'”

While RegionAHEAD worked toward digging deeper into how regional residents were responding to the COVID-19 vaccine, it will now use 2021 to create campaigns that promote the vaccine and its efficacy.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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