Story at a glance

  • Monmouth University data shows a quarter of Americans don’t want to be vaccinated.
  • This comes despite broad approval of President Biden, state governments and health institutions.

Although efforts are ramping up to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and many are receptive to and have already gotten the shot, a notable portion of Americans remain generally opposed to the idea, according to new data released Monday from Monmouth University.

About 1 in 4, or 25 percent, of people surveyed are “unwilling” to get the vaccine, despite roughly 60 percent of respondents reporting largely favorable perceptions of the vaccine rollout so far.

“Public opinion of how state governors and federal health agencies have handled the pandemic remain largely positive, although not quite as positive as they were at its onset one year ago,” Monmouth researchers write. 


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Poll results show a slight dip in confidence in President Biden's pandemic plan, but it remains overall positive.

More specific figures indicate the public anticipates the public health shutdowns brought on by the pandemic will last, with 21 percent of Americans believing society will return to pre-pandemic “normal” by summer, a drop from 29 percent surveyed in late January.

Forty percent think that normalcy will return by the end of 2021, but 27 percent think it will take longer than that. 

Nine percent think that U.S. life will never return to normal, despite vaccine distribution.

More positive reactions were observed in regards to mortality from COVID-19: 40 percent of respondents are “very concerned” about a family member becoming seriously ill, a notable drop recorded in the past few weeks.

“Public optimism is mixed as we clock one year of living with the pandemic. The wider availability of vaccines seems to have alleviated some immediate concerns about falling ill that had grown through the end of last year,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “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.”

Currently, the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to pass the Senate-approved COVID-19 relief bill, which will then head to President Biden’s desk for ratification. 

As politicians on both sides of the aisle can agree to certain measures in the forthcoming stimulus package, partisanship is seen in peoples’ perception of vaccination.

For those who want to outright avoid receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, 36 percent identify as Republican, while 6 percent identify as Democrats. 

“Partisanship has always been the main dividing line on the pandemic. A new challenge for the Biden administration is the possibility of more independents joining Republicans in becoming vaccine skeptics,” Murray added.

While reticence to be vaccinated has broadly fallen within these groups, independent voters have seen growth, with 31 percent choosing to opt out of receiving a vaccine.

Additionally, more white Americans are unwilling to get the vaccine than Americans of color.

Still, despite rising approval ratings for governments and federal agencies over the course of the pandemic, the American public gave a harsh rating to itself.

Fifty-three percent of polled respondents said that overall the American public did a “bad job” with handling the outbreak, a trend that has persisted for months.


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Published on Mar 10, 2021