1 In 5 Adults Still Reject Covid Vaccines, Poll Finds — Here Are The Biggest Groups Still Holding Out

Published 2 years ago
Kenya Vaccinates Elderly Against Covid-19
An elderly resident receives a dose of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford and manufactured by Serum Institute of India Ltd., at Thika Level 5 Hospital in Thika, Kenya, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Kenyan hospitals are grappling with record numbers of critical-care patients, stretching a system that was inadequate even before the outbreak of Covid-19. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images

TOPLINE Despite the deadly wave of delta variant coronavirus that overwhelmed hospitals and sent death rates soaring, high numbers of Americans are still refusing Covid-19 vaccines, according to a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, underscoring the challenges officials face as they try to move beyond the pandemic.


One in five Americans said they would never get a Covid-19 shot (16%) or would only do so if required (4%), according to the Kaiser poll, conducted October 14-24 among 1,519 U.S. adults.

Around a third of Republicans (31%) and rural residents (33%)—the groups most opposed to vaccination—said they would definitely not get the shot, the poll found, with a further 3% and 2%, respectively, saying they would only do so if required.


The poll also found strong vaccine opposition among uninsured people under 65 (28% said they would definitely not get the jab or only do so if required), white evangelical Christians (26%), those aged 30-49 (25%), men (24%) and adults without a college degree (23%).   

Partisan divides persisted among vaccinated adults, Kaiser found, with nearly four in 10 (38%) fully vaccinated Republicans saying they probably or definitely would not get a booster shot if one was made available to them, nearly four times the number of like-minded Democrats (9%).  


A quarter (25%) of workers said their employer has required them to get vaccinated, Kaiser found. Just over half (51%) of workers not subject to a vaccine mandate at work said they did not want their employer to do so (vs 21% who do). Unsurprisingly, these figures change when split by vaccination status, with nearly three times as many (90%) unvaccinated adults saying they do not want their employer to require vaccination as vaccinated adults (35%). 


More than a third (37%) of unvaccinated workers said they would leave their jobs if their employer required vaccination even if they offered a testing alternative, Kaiser found. If no testing option was available, this rose to 72%. A third (32%) of Republicans polled said they already know someone who has left a job over a vaccine mandate. 



Patience with the unvaccinated is wearing thin at many levels of government, in corporate America and among vaccinated Americans. Despite an abundant vaccine supply and every adult (and many children) having been eligible for months, a significant portion of the U.S. population remains unvaccinated. Resistance to vaccines has remained steady for months, according to polls by Kaiser and other firms, despite material changes to the pandemic and the spread of the delta variant. The surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths seen over the summer was driven almost entirely by unvaccinated people,  Employers have been implementing their own policies to encourage vaccination among workers and in early September, President Biden announced sweeping new mandates covering all businesses with more than 100 employees to require their workers get vaccinated or be tested weekly. The policies appear to be working, with vaccination rates shooting up among workforces after requirements were announced. 


By The Numbers: Who’s Refusing Covid Vaccinations—And Why (Forbes)


Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates Are Working—Here’s The Proof (Forbes)

By Robert Hart, Forbes Staff