Poll: Unvaccinated Americans Consider Vaccine Requirements a Greater Health Threat Than COVID-19

Findings on values and priorities suggest mandates may be the only thing that will change minds

Bethesda, Maryland, Sept. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With the federal government, businesses, and schools increasingly requiring vaccinations, a new national poll shows that unvaccinated Americans consider mandates a greater threat to their health and safety than being exposed to COVID-19. The poll of 956 unvaccinated adults was conducted Aug. 19-22 by Morning Consult on behalf of the de Beaumont Foundation.

Respondents were asked to choose which was a greater threat – 1) being required to get a COVID-19 vaccine to travel or enter workplaces, restaurants, sporting events, or other public spaces or 2) being potentially exposed to COVID-19 in a public space because people decline to get the vaccine. A full 66% of unvaccinated adults chose vaccine requirements, including a majority in every demographic – age, gender, political affiliation, ethnicity, income, and geography. In addition, 79% said the freedom to be able to choose whether to get vaccinated is a higher priority for them than requiring vaccination because the spread of COVID-19 puts people at risk.

“When unvaccinated adults say personal freedom is a higher priority than public safety, the time for education campaigns has passed,” said Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, president and chief executive officer of the de Beaumont Foundation. “As much as they may dislike it, for many Americans vaccine mandates are the only thing that persuade them.”

When asked to indicate the threat level of four options, 51% said vaccination mandates and restrictions are a somewhat large or very large threat, compared with 45% for breakthrough variants like the Delta variant, 45% for the COVID-19 vaccines, and 22% for unvaccinated people.

A large majority of unvaccinated adults – 77% -- said they don’t trust the federal government’s vaccine guidance. And 92% said their opinion about the federal government has either remained the same or gotten worse over the past six months.

Despite their strong feelings against mandates, up to a quarter of unvaccinated adults said requirements would affect their decision to get vaccinated. The things they said would be most likely to change their mind were, in order:

  • FDA approval of the vaccines
  • Employer requirements
  • Being tested less often for COVID-19
  • Requirements to attend concerts, sports, and other events
  • Their children begging them to get vaccinated

See additional findings at https://debeaumont.org/news/2021/unvaccinated-adults-vaccine-mandates-are-a-greater-threat-than-covid-19/.


Data intelligence company Morning Consult conducted an online survey on behalf of the de Beaumont Foundation August 19-22 with 956 unvaccinated adults. Results have a margin of error of +/- 3%. The de Beaumont Foundation and Frank Luntz helped develop the survey.

About the de Beaumont Foundation

Founded in 1998, the de Beaumont Foundation creates and invests in bold solutions that improve the health of communities across the country. The Foundation advances policy, builds partnerships, and strengthens public health to create communities where people can achieve their best possible health. For more information, visit debeaumont.org.




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