A Quarter of Americans Plan to Say No to Covid Vaccine

Another 21% are taking a wait-and-see approach, a new poll reveals.

People line up for a vaccination, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Minnesota. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(CN) — While Covid vaccination efforts continue to roll out across the country, a new poll suggests a looming snag: almost a quarter of Americans say they don’t actually want the shots.  

As the United States approaches the one-year mark since Covid-19 brought normal everyday life to a grinding halt, more than 25 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against the deadly virus and another 50 million have received one of the two required doses. But even as these numbers of protected Americans continue to rise, a Monmouth University poll released Monday found many Americans would prefer to say no to the vaccine altogether.

The poll reports that 24% of Americans say they will never get vaccinated against Covid-19 if they have their way. Another 21% say they want to see more Americans get vaccinated first before they decide.

A majority of the public, however, have no such fears. Nearly 40% of Americans say they are ready to get their Covid-19 shots as soon as it becomes available to them, while another 16% say they have already been vaccinated.

While there are some demographic disparities between people of color and white respondents who are unwilling to get vaccinated — around 14% of people of color and 28% of white Americans say they have no plans to get their shots — the largest gap exists between Republicans and Democrats. The poll reports that nearly 4 in 10 Republicans (36%) say they plan to reject a vaccination, compared to just 6% of Democrats. Roughly a third of independents say they have no plans to get their Covid-19 shots.

This hesitation to skip the Covid-19 shot comes even as the public at large is split on when life in the U.S. will return to normal — if that will happen at all. Just over 20% of Americans say they think life will go back to normal by the end of the summer, down slightly from those who voiced such optimism at the start of the year. Another 40% say it will take until at least the end of the year before the world reverts back its pre-Covid state.

Roughly a quarter say it will take Americans beyond 2021 to find normalcy once again, while nearly 10% believe life will never truly go back to the way it was.

While the public cannot seem to decide on when life will go back to normal, they are gradually becoming less worried about Covid-19’s consequences. In January, 60% of Americans said they were “very concerned” about a family member becoming seriously ill. Now, just 40% express the same sentiment and 28% say they are only somewhat concerned.

“Public optimism is mixed as we clock one year of living with the pandemic,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, with the release of the poll. “The wider availability of vaccines seems to have alleviated some immediate concerns about falling ill that had grown through the end of last year. However, most Americans feel that ‘normal’ is still many months away and perhaps a little farther down the road than initially hoped for during Biden’s first days in office.”

Despite these uncertainties, most Americans are willing to give positive marks to the government’s current response to the Covid-19 crisis. A bipartisan majority of Americans say they are at least somewhat satisfied with how vaccines have been rolled out around the country and approve how their governors have handled the pandemic.

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans also say they think President Joe Biden has done a good job responding to the virus on the federal level since assuming office and believe that Biden can put the country on a solid post-Covid recovery path. Their confidence well exceeds the 44% of Americans who said the same for then-President Donald Trump late last year.

There is one group, however, that did not earn a passing grade for their Covid-19 response in Monday’s poll: the American people themselves. Just 35% of respondents think their fellow Americans have done their best to manage the virus outbreak, while 53% maintain the public’s response has left them disappointed.

Monday’s poll of 802 U.S. adults contained a 3.5% margin of error.

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