A Fifth of Americans Still Say No to Covid Vaccine

Tuesday’s poll indicates Americans are slightly more willing to get the shot than they were a month ago.

Volunteers and health care workers carry out a mass vaccination campaign at the former site of a Sears department store in a partnership with San Diego County, the city of Chula Vista and Sharp HealthCare. (Courthouse News photo/Barbara Leonard)

(CN) — Around 20% of Americans remain reluctant to be vaccinated against the coronavirus even as more of their friends and neighbors are accepting the shot, a Monmouth University poll revealed Tuesday.

President Joe Biden does, however, receive strong marks for his pandemic response among respondents.

As state governments continue to expand their vaccine rollouts and more Americans receive some form of Covid vaccination, 21% of Americans say they have no plans of ever getting a Covid-19 shot if they can help it.  

While the number of Americans rejecting the vaccine fell slightly compared to last month, it’s not by much. In March, Monmouth pollsters found 24% of Americans said they will refuse to be vaccinated. Of the reasons given, a shrinking number said they want to see their fellow Americans get vaccinated first before making up their minds. Around a fifth of Americans voiced that sentiment in March, but only around 10% say the same today.

Still, most Americans say they want to be vaccinated. Just over half of respondents say they have already received at least one Covid-19 shot, while another 14% say they are just waiting for their turn in line.

Wednesday’s poll was conducted before federal health officials ordered a halt to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following a handful of reports of extremely rare blood clot complications following the shot.

Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said the news swirling around the Johnson & Johnson shot probably won’t help persuade those still pushing back against a vaccine, but says it’s too early to see if it will have much of an impact on vaccine attitudes moving forward.

“The number of people who have been skittish about the vaccine has dropped as more Americans line up for the shot, but the hardcore group who want to avoid it at all costs has barely budged,” Murray said with the release of the poll. “The recent news about J&J vaccines is probably not going to help that situation. On the other hand, it might not make it all that much worse since much of this reluctance is really ingrained in partisan identity.”

Murray’s assertion of party politics is well supported by Wednesday’s numbers. Just 5% of Democrats say they are unwilling to ever get a Covid shot, compared to 43% of Republicans who say the same. Independents are, as they have often been, tucked in the middle with 22% voicing their reluctance to get vaccinated.

Many Americans are largely united behind one idea, however — the nation is moving in the right direction.

Biden currently enjoys an overall job performance approval rating of 54%, up three points from where he was last month. Another 62% also say they think he has done a good job handling the pandemic so far, though 31% say they believe he’s done poorly. These numbers well outpace approval ratings of former President Donald Trump, who left office with just 34% of Americans giving him a positive review for his handling of Covid-19.

The poll also reports strong numbers for a host of other Covid-related issues that have taken center stage in recent months, such as feelings towards the recent relief package passed by Congress and the performance of local governors. More than 6 in 10 say they supported the stimulus package and believe that their local state leaders have done a good job of managing the pandemic.

All told, 46% say they believe the nation as a whole is headed in the right direction — a number that, while not quite being a majority, is still the highest in nearly a decade.

“It may be less than a majority, but the number of people who feel positive about the nation’s trajectory is easily at its highest point in a long time,” Murray said.

Wednesday’s poll of 800 Americans contained a margin of error of 3.5%.

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