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New Poll Shows Just Half Of Americans Will Get Vaccinated When Vaccine Is Available; Safety And Efficacy Concerns Drive Unwillingness

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60% of people surveyed don’t believe a vaccine is safe for them to take, while 40% of people simply don’t believe a vaccine will work. The survey asked respondents on whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “I will definitely get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available,” . Photo credit ShutterStock.com, licensed.

NEW YORK—A groundbreaking Back-to-Normal Barometer survey for the first time finds that half of Americans say that they will receive a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available for them to receive it. Driving this lack of enthusiasm, 60% of people surveyed don’t believe a vaccine is safe for them to take, while 40% of people simply don’t believe a vaccine will work.

The survey asked respondents on whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement, “I will definitely get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available.” 50% strongly agree; 12% somewhat agree; 15% somewhat disagree and 23% strongly disagree.

“Getting half the country to take the vaccine will be the easy part. The hard part will be getting three-quarters or more to do so,” said Rich Thau, President of Engagious, one of the three firms—along with the Sports and Leisure Research Group ROKK Solutions—that conducted the survey.


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“Throughout the 18 waves of the Barometer, we continue to see a real division of opinion across the population,” said Jon Last, President of Sports and Leisure Research Group and former national president of the Insights Association (MRA). “Continuing hesitance regarding COVID vaccinations is just another illustration of the challenge we face in getting back to normal.”

When those who are unlikely to get the vaccine were asked this survey question, “Which of the following are reasons you are not likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available,” they could choose all that apply. In descending order, this is what they said:

  • 60% said, “I’m not convinced the vaccine is safe;”
  • 40% said, “I’m not convinced that the vaccine will work;”
  • 32% said, “I believe that with the new variants of COVID-19, the vaccines are less effective;”
  • 25% said, “I believe that the pandemic is blown out of proportion;”
  • 14% said, “I believe that I am at low risk to contract COVID;”
  • 13% said, “I believe that if I get sick, it’s no big deal;”
  • 12% said, “I’m put off by needles.”

“While millions of Americans are getting the COVID-19 vaccine, much more work needs to be done to convince millions more that the vaccines will work and that they are medically safe,” said Ron Bonjean, Partner at ROKK Solutions.

The margin of error on the February 4, 2021 online survey of 534 Americans is +/-4.24% at the 95% confidence interval.

Sports and Leisure Research Group is a market research firm specializing in the sports, travel, and leisure sectors, based in White Plains, NY. Engagious is a bicoastal research firm specializing in corporate and public policy message testing and message refinement. ROKK Solutions is a Washington, DC-based bipartisan public affairs firm specializing in strategic communications, media engagement, digital and social strategy, message amplification and crisis management.


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