Nearly half of Utahns say they’ve already been vaccinated against COVID-19 and another 15% want to get the shots as soon as possible, according to results from a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll.

Still, 13% of Utahns are in no particular rush to be vaccinated while 7% want to wait and see before getting the shots, and 2% aren’t sure what they’ll do.

Among the 14% who say they’ll never get vaccinated, 36% don’t trust the vaccines, 25% don’t think the shots are necessary and 10% are worried about side effects.

For those who are already vaccinated, a third have yet to start spending more time with family, friends and colleagues, while just over half — 53% — have somewhat increased their level of social interaction.

And 13% say their social interactions have gone up a great deal since receiving their shots.

The poll was conducted by independent pollster Scott Rasmussen March 26-31 of 1,000 registered voters in Utah for the Deseret News and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. Poll questions asked of the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points; others have a higher margin of error.

Rasmussen said Utahns’ reactions toward the COVID-19 vaccine are similar to when they were last polled in February, other than more people now have been vaccinated and fewer are hoping to get it quickly.

“The number who either say they’ve been vaccinated or want to be as soon as possible was 60% a month ago and 63% now. The rest of the group hasn’t changed all that much,” he said. “I’m not sure it’s a reflection of minds not changing so much as this is all about risk assessment.”

The 20% who aren’t in any hurry to get the shots are likely not opposed to the vaccines but also don’t believe “it’s a matter of life or death to get it right now,” the pollster said. “If you’re young and healthy, even if you get COVID, you’re thinking your odds are pretty good of recovering.”

Nationally, Rasmussen said some two-thirds of voters have started eating indoors at restaurants, attending large gatherings and participating in other activities that public health officials would frown upon as helping to spread the virus.

“This is not a population that sounds like it’s viewing this as a crisis,” he said, adding that many view advice from public health officials as sounding like it’s coming from “the boy who cried wolf” since some restrictions continue more than a year after the start of the pandemic.

Leonard O’Reilly, 82, said because he’s healthy, he doesn’t feel he has to get vaccinated.

“I just didn’t see a need. As far as I’m concerned, the whole thing has been overblown,” O’Reilly said. “I just haven’t been sick and I didn’t feel I need to put something in my body. I’m careful with what I eat. I don’t eat anything with preservatives in it.”

Retired just three years after a long career in the glass business, he said he’s been urged to get vaccinated by the young man who delivers meals to his Garden City home three times a week, who’s also signing up area senior citizens for shots.

“I just haven’t worried,” O’Reilly said. “I told him, ‘If I go, I go. My father died at 84 years old. My mother died at 80 years old. I don’t worry. But again, there’s something else there to consider. We’re at a place where we’re really all very well social distanced already.”

His wife, Sidne, has had one dose of the vaccine, O’Reilly said, but won’t get the second and final dose after a bad reaction. When they celebrated her 75th birthday last year, he said he and the family were careful, holding the party outdoors and wearing masks.

The couple has six children, 30 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, O’Reilly said, adding a daughter in California has also tried unsuccessfully to talk him into getting the vaccine.

Jason Perry, director of the U.’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, said vaccines will remain a tough sell for some. In mid-March, Gov. Spencer Cox announced that all Utahns 16 and older can be vaccinated, adding a million people to the state’s eligibility list.

“We continue to see that a majority of Utahns either have or are eager to get vaccinated and view it as the quickest and safest path to our new normal. When compared to previous polls, fewer people are saying they are going to wait, but the number of those saying they will not get the vaccine is largely unchanged,” Perry said.

In February, about a quarter of Utahns either wanted to wait and see before getting vaccinated or were in no particular rush, compared to 20% in the latest poll. The percentage of poll respondents who are dead set against being vaccinated increased only slightly, to 14% from 12% in February.

Perry said the “majority in this group don’t trust vaccines or don’t think they are necessary. Whether it is because many in this group have already had the virus or are just not worried about getting it, this is the group the governor and public health officials need to convince.”

They may have their work cut out for them, he said.

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“There are many in this group who will never be convinced. For others, it will either be personal experience with the virus or a period of time watching the success of the vaccination program,” Perry said.

“Consistent, clear and transparent messaging about the vaccine remains critically important.”

Utah Department of Health spokeswoman Charla Haley said the department “is encouraged by the number of Utahns who have already received their COVID-19 vaccination. Every Utahn who is able to should choose to get vaccinated for COVID-19.”

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Haley said “if as many people as possible get vaccinated and we continue to follow health recommendations, we will win this fight against this virus. COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications and there is no way to predict how COVID-19 will affect you.”

She said for those Utahns who “you do get sick, you could spread the illness to friends, family, and others around you. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a much safer way to build immunity.

“The COVID-19 vaccine, along with wearing masks and social distancing, are the best tools we have to get our lives back.”