Filip Viskupič & David L. Wiltse of the South Dakota State University School of American and Global Studies produce the SDSU Poll on South Dakota political issues. While the SDSU Poll was way off on its polling of the Noem/Smith election, Viskupič and Wiltse got accurate responses on Thune’s blowout of Bengs and the ballot measures.
While Team Noem is happy to criticize her alma mater’s polling proficiency, Viskupič and Wiltse apparently have sufficiently solid methodology to make the academic press. The Journal of Community Health just published their paper on “Covid-19 Parental Vaccine Hesitancy Among Nurses in the State of South Dakota.” The SDSU researchers emailed 20,980 nurses from the South Dakota Board of Nursing membership file (so their sample did not include not Kristi Noem) to invite them to take an online survey. 1,084 of those nurses responded and completed the survey between June 24 and July 9. Viskupič and Wiltse say they lucked into a self-selecting sample that “closely resembles the state’s population of nurses.” Among those respondents were 298 with children at home age 5 to 17 and 123 with kids age 4 and under.
What significant results did the survey find?
- The probability of nurses getting their kids age 5 to 17 vaccinated for covid was 54% among Republican nurses, 61% among independents, and 67% among Democrats.
- The probability of nurses getting their kids younger than 5 vaccinated for covid was 27% among Republicans, 31% among independents, and 41% among Democrats. (The FDA had just approved vaccines for younger kids when the survey went out, so the survey asked about intent to vaccinated younger kids, not actual vaccination status.)
- With age comes caution: among nurses in their 20s, the vaccination rate for kids 5 to 17 was 38%. That rate increased with age: 48% among nurses in their 30s, 57% in the 40s, and 65% in the 50s.
- The strongest predictor of child vaccination was parent vaccination. Among unvaccinated nurses (?!?), only 3% reported vaccinating their older kids. That precentage rose to 15% for nurses who’ve taken one dose, 48% for nurses who are fully vaccinated, and 82% for fully vaccinated and boosted nurses.
Two things stand out in these results. First, political affiliation has the effect we would predict on parental vaccine hesitancy, but it’s not a huge effect. Majorities of parent-nurses from all three main political groups vaccinated their older kids, but only minorities from all groups planned to get shots for their younger kids.
Second, even among nurses, there is no overwhelming consensus that kids ought to get covid shots. Even among the groups we might predict would be most supportive of vaccines for everyone—Democrats, who pay attention to science and and facts rather than demagogues, and older nurses, who may recognize their own older immune systems may need more protection and who would thus be more inclined to reduce their risk of catching and spreading coronavirus by vaccinating the little vectors in their homes—this survey still finds a good third of nurses choosing not to vaccinate their kids.