Americans not vaccinated against Covid-19 are mainly driven by suspicion of the government and fears about vaccine side effects, and there is very little that can be done to convince them to get the injections, shows one new poll from CNBC / Change Research.
Change Research surveyed 1,775 respondents for CNBC on August 30 through September 2 about Americans’ views on Covid vaccines, President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, and other topics.
Of the 29% of US voters who are not vaccinated, 83% say they are not planning on life-saving injections, the poll shows. A frustrated Biden outlined a number of new vaccine and testing mandates for federal employees and contractors, as well as healthcare workers and private companies, on Thursday.
“What is there to wait? What else do you need to see? We made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval, and over 200 million Americans have had at least one vaccination, ”said Biden. “We have been patient, but our patience is deteriorating and the refusal has cost us all.
A man carries in front of US President Donald Trump’s “Save America” rally at York Family Farms on Jan.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
Of the non-vaccinated respondents, 84% said their decision not to vaccinate would not change if the vaccines did not have any side effects, and 87% said they would still not get the vaccinations if their employer ordered them. Only 5% and 4% of respondents said that these things made them “much more likely” to change their minds, the survey shows. Pressure from family members made little difference, with only 2% saying it would increase the likelihood that they would get the injections.
Increasing vaccination hesitation could make it difficult to reach the vaccination rate of up to 90% that some health officials consider necessary to achieve nationwide herd immunity to Covid.
“It is time people understood that there is no herd immunity in sight that will allow this virus to go away and not come back,” said Dr. Bruce Farber, director of infectious diseases at Northwell Health in New York, told CNBC in a September 1 interview. “And for the foreseeable future we will live with this virus as much as we will with the flu.”
About 34% of the unvaccinated respondents said they were hesitant to get the vaccine because they didn’t trust the federal government, while another 34% were concerned about the side effects of the vaccine. Less than 10% of non-vaccinated respondents said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if the Delta variant was more problematic in their community, and 7% said they would get vaccinated if asked by Trump.
“There seems to be something specific to COVID-19 at work too, as 56% of unvaccinated reports have had a flu shot in the past,” the survey said.
The gap between vaccinated and unvaccinated was particularly evident in political terms: 60% of Republicans and 87% of Trump voters in last year’s presidential election responded that they were unvaccinated in the poll. By comparison, 49% of Democrats and 68% of Biden voters reported being fully vaccinated in 2020.
The survey found that 53% of unvaccinated respondents said they were less likely to get the vaccinations after leading U.S. health officials advocated Covid booster shots for mRNA vaccines on Aug. 18, as that protection diminishes over time. But 73% of vaccinated voters said they would eventually get their third dose.
Despite their resistance to a Covid vaccination, unvaccinated respondents seemed more willing to accept therapeutic treatments if recommended by a doctor after a positive Covid diagnosis. The poll found that 44% of unvaccinated voters answered “maybe” when asked whether they would accept either an intravenous antiviral or monoclonal antibody, compared with 33% of unvaccinated respondents who said they would reject the antibodies and 34% who did would refuse the antiviral agent.
As students return to face-to-face learning and employers bring their employees back to the office, the survey also captured voters’ thoughts on mask requirements in schools and vaccination requirements in the workplace. Among parents of children under the age of 18, 51% support the mask requirement for teaching staff, while 47% believe that schools should require students to wear face coverings.
The poll found stronger support for employer vaccination mandates, with 55% of voters agreeing to vaccination regulations for employees in private companies. And 67% of those surveyed said that companies should be allowed to enforce mask requirements for customers.
“One of the most likely things to get someone vaccinated was when their employer asked them to,” the survey found.