Many Americans still hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine

New Data from COVID Near You and SurveyMonkey

Hello from SurveyMonkey! 

Good news and bad news: three major U.S. pharmaceutical companies—AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer—have all developed vaccines that are under consideration for emergency use authorization by the FDA, and yet many Americans are still hesitant to be vaccinated right away. 

In a new poll conducted by Covid Near You and SurveyMonkey, not quite half of all Americans (48%) say they would opt to get a coronavirus vaccine right away, exactly the same as in a midsummer Covid Near You|SurveyMonkey poll. With public views little changed since the summer despite major advancements in the race to create and approve a vaccine,  

“These data continue to point to the need for investment in a national vaccine communication and education campaign that matches the unprecedented scale of our scientific effort to develop the vaccine” says Dr. John Brownstein, Harvard Medical School professor, Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, and founder of Covid Near You, a joint team of epidemiologists that uses crowdsourced data to help citizens and public health agencies identify current and potential hotspots for COVID-19.  “Clear and transparent evidence-based messaging that engages local communities is required to restore public trust.”

While revealing the public’s persistent hesitancy to get vaccinated, these latest results also reinforce our earlier findings showing significant disparities in willingness to receive a vaccine remain by race and partisanship. 

Blacks are particularly hesitant to take COVID-19 vaccine right away (just 26% say they would do so), while whites and Asians express similar levels of enthusiasm to get a vaccine early (53% and 52%, respectively). 

Part of the role that public health officials will have to play in the coming months will be to persuade and convince large segments of the population that these vaccines are safe and effective. These polling results indicate they will have a particular challenge in communicating that message to people of color, who are not only the most hesitant to get vaccinated but who also have been more likely to contract the virus and to die from it. 

The poll results also show a wide partisan divide, which only adds to the messaging and communication problems. As in July and August, Democrats continue to be the most enthusiastic about receiving a vaccine right away (56%) compared with Republicans (43%) and independents (36%).

For more detailed crosstabs, email pr@surveymonkey.com

Methodology: These data come from a SurveyMonkey online poll conducted November 23-30, 2020 among a national sample of 25,696 adults in the U.S. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.0 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. 

More covid data worth watching:

  • From Gallup: “Americans' willingness to be vaccinated against COVID-19 rebounded a bit in October, as seen in Gallup polling conducted before Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna made promising announcements about the likely effectiveness of their coronavirus vaccines.”

  • From Ipsos: “In a new Ipsos survey of more than 18,000 adults from 15 countries conducted in partnership with the World Economic Forum, 73% say they would get a vaccine for COVID-19 if it were available.”

More polling highlights from us:

  • “After President Trump’s loss to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., more than 40 percent of Republicans who were polled for The New York Times said they expected their family to be worse off financially in a year’s time, up from 4 percent in October. Democrats expressed a rise in optimism — though not as sharp as the change in Republican sentiment.” by Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley for The New York Times (link

  • “Fifty-three percent of small business owners said they expect tax policy to have a negative impact on their business in the next 12 months, while 49% said government regulation will have a negative impact. By party affiliation, the divide is stark.” by Eric Rosenbaum for CNBC (link)

  • “37% of U.S. adults plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside their household, according to the study from Covid Near You, which is made up of epidemiologists from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.” by Nicholas Reimann for Forbes (link

That’s it for this week—thanks for reading! Hit reply to send us any questions or feedback. 

-Laura Wronski