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UMMS Survey Finds Many Marylanders Not Changing Thanksgiving Plans, But Still Plan To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A new survey from the University of Maryland Medical System found that more than four in 10 Marylanders are unwilling to change their in-person Thanksgiving or other holiday plans.

That same survey, however, found that the nearly two thirds of Marylanders plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available.

The online survey was conducted November 16-23, polling 525 Marylanders throughout Central Maryland, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore- which is where UMMS operates a network of 13 hospitals, ambulatory centers and urgent care facilities.

It found that 44% will not change their in-person Thanksgiving or other holiday plans due to COVID-19. It also found that 65% of Marylanders are very or somewhat likely to get a COVID-19 vaccination when it is available.

"No question about it, these survey results are concerning, as our statewide mission to slow the spread of COVID-19 and stop the current surge relies on people heeding the advice of the CDC and Governor Hogan to not travel and refrain from holding large family events during Thanksgiving," said David Marcozzi, MD, UMMS COVID-19 Incident Commander. "This could be setting up a perfect storm, with COVID cases on the rise throughout the state and multiple super-spreader events, it could cause a significant strain on the state's healthcare system."

The survey found respondents in Southern Maryland and Eastern Shore regions are less likely to say they have canceled in-person holiday plans than those in other regions of the state. Women, older adults and those with higher education levels are more likely to have changed holiday plans.

"While we're encouraged that nearly two thirds of Marylanders would take a COVID vaccine, this survey points out that we have more work to do to educate the public about the necessity to vaccinate and alleviate fears and concerns about the vaccines that will become available," said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of UMMS. "UMMS will be working tirelessly to make the vaccine available to as many Marylanders as possible, at the appropriate time, and ease concerns by communicating the facts."

The survey found that those saying they are likely to take the vaccine include white men- 76%; men older than 45-76%; and people over 65 years old- 76%.

The groups with higher levels saying they are not likely to take the vaccine include Black women at 49%, women in general- 43%, those with a high school education or less-49%; and people between 18 and 34 years old- 42%.

People in the Baltimore metro area were more likely to say they would take the vaccine- 70%; while those in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore and Prince George's County reported lower levels of likelihood.

This comes after a AAA survey found that 90% of Marylanders surveyed were not traveling for Thanksgiving.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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