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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

Why it matters: High rates of vaccine hesitancy among any group threatens collective progress against the pandemic, meaning that it's just as important to reach white Republicans as it is to reach other hesitant groups.

  • The overall 30% who are disinclined to get a COVID vaccine cited concerns such as side effects, a sense the vaccine was rushed and a desire to know more on how the vaccines work.
  • The U.S. racial divide in vaccine intent has shrunk overall since November. 61% of Black Americans now say they plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine or have already received one, up sharply from 42% in November.

The big picture: The public continues to be dissatisfied in how top health and state officials have responded to the pandemic, the report says. But people are more optimistic than ever, however, that President Biden's policies and vaccination efforts will effectively contain the outbreak.

  • 81% continue to view the pandemic as a major threat to the economy, and a growing 77% think vaccinations will benefit the U.S. economy.
  • Support for additional restrictions on public activity has declined — 27% say there should be more restrictions on public activity in their area, down from 44% in November. 41% now say the number of restrictions in their area should stay about the same.
  • 85% of Americans see requirements to wear face masks for travelers as necessary, but far fewer say the same about limiting restaurants to take-out service or closing K-12 schools to in-person learning.

Methodology: The report was based on a survey of 10,121 U.S. adults conducted online between Feb. 16-21. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.

Go deeper: Republicans are least likely to want the coronavirus vaccine

Go deeper

Mar 4, 2021 - World

In AstraZeneca spat, EU fights hard for a vaccine it's hardly using

Macron, Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel (R) at a summit in October. Photo: Yves Herman/Pool/AFP via Getty

Italy on Thursday blocked the export of 250,000 AstraZeneca doses to Australia, becoming the first EU country to exercise an export ban due to a vaccine shortfall in the bloc.

Why it matters: The controversial step exposes multiple major challenges to distributing vaccines — even among the world’s richest countries.

Mar 5, 2021 - Health

Cuomo advisers reportedly altered July COVID-19 nursing homes report

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Seth Wenig/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisers successfully pushed state health officials to exclude certain data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from a July report, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Why it matters: The changes resulted in a "significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population," WSJ wrote.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker