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More Americans Now Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

More Americans Now Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Story Highlights

  • 58% of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Democrats, older Americans among the most willing to get vaccine
  • Speed of development most commonly cited reason to not vaccinate

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- 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. Fifty-eight percent of Americans in the latest poll say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, up from a low of 50% in September.

Line graph. Americans' willingness to take a vaccine against COVID-19. 58% of Americans say the would take such a vaccine, while 42% say they would not.

These latest data come from a Gallup Panel survey conducted Oct. 19-Nov. 1, as COVID-19 infections continued to increase across the U.S. A vaccine for the disease is seen as key to returning Americans' lives to normal and allowing the lifting of restrictions that would permit a full economic recovery for the country.

The 42% of U.S. adults saying they would not get a vaccine is down from 50% in September, but still indicative of significant challenges ahead for public health and government officials in achieving mass public compliance with vaccine recommendations.

COVID-19 Vaccine Willingness Among Key Groups

Democrats currently show the largest increase in willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine, with 69% saying they would get a vaccine, compared with 53% in September. Democrats have been consistently more likely than Republicans and independents to say they would get a vaccine since Gallup first asked about the issue in July. In September, the gap between Democrats and Republicans on this issue narrowed to four percentage points, the smallest margin measured to date. This was mostly due to decreased willingness on the part of Democrats -- perhaps because of worries that a vaccine would be rushed out prior to the presidential election, without adequate clinical testing to ensure its safety.

Line graph. Americans' willingness to take a vaccine against COVID-19, by political affiliation. 69% of Democrats, 49% of Republicans and 49% of independents say they would be willing to take a vaccine protecting against the disease.

Another significant increase in willingness to get a vaccine is seen in Americans aged 45 to 64, with 49% of this group now willing to do so, up from 36% in September. However, this age group remains the least likely to say they would get a vaccine.

The latest results also show 10-point increases in willingness among women and those without a college degree.

Willingness to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19, by Subgroup
If an FDA-approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus/COVID-19 was available right now at no cost, would you agree to be vaccinated? (% Yes)
Sep 14-27 Oct 19-Nov 1 Change
% % pct. pts.
Men 56 61 +5
Women 44 54 +10
18-44 60 62 +2
45-64 36 49 +13
65+ 54 63 +9
No college degree 45 55 +10
College degree 60 63 +3
Democrats 53 69 +16
Independents 47 49 +2
Republicans 49 49 0
White adults 54 61 +7
Non-White adults 40 48 +8
Northeast 59 66 +7
Midwest 46 55 +9
South 43 52 +9
West 58 62 +4
Gallup Panel, 2020

Americans' Reasons to Not Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

In a follow-up question, 37% of Americans who would not get a vaccine say the rushed timeline for the development of the vaccine is the main reason they would not be vaccinated. Another 26% say they want to wait to confirm the vaccine is safe. Rounding out the reasons for some Americans' hesitancy are 12% saying they don't trust vaccines in general and 10% who want to wait to see how effective the vaccine will be. An additional 15% cite other reasons for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Included among these reasons are the politicization of the vaccine potentially comprising its safety and the view that the vaccine is not necessary.

The majority of Democrats who say they would not get a vaccine, 54%, reference concerns about rushed development. This compares with 26% of Republicans and 32% of independents who say the same.

One in five Republicans who do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine mention distrust of vaccines in general, a view shared by 14% of independents and 2% of Democrats.

Reasons for Choosing to Not Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19
What is the main reason that you would not agree to receive a coronavirus/COVID-19 vaccine, if one was available now?
about rushed
Want to wait
to confirm
it is safe
Don't trust
Want to wait
to see how
effective it is
Other reason
% % % % %
Overall 37 26 12 10 15
Men 35 22 12 12 19
Women 38 29 12 8 12
18-44 46 33 5 2 15
45-64 37 25 14 8 16
65+ 32 23 14 17 14
No college degree 35 22 15 12 17
College degree 41 36 7 7 10
Democrats 54 30 2 4 10
Independents 32 30 14 12 11
Republicans 26 19 20 14 22
White adults 37 24 13 10 17
Non-White adults 37 30 11 11 12
Northeast 19 25 18 17 22
Midwest 43 27 11 8 11
South 36 29 12 10 13
West 44 17 11 7 20
*Among those who say they would not be vaccinated
Gallup Panel, Oct. 19-Nov. 1, 2020

Bottom Line

Even before the announcements made by Pfizer and BioNTech on Nov. 9 and by Moderna on Nov. 16 about the development of highly effective vaccines for COVID-19, Americans were already more willing to get a vaccine than they were in September. The recent increase is primarily due to a jump in willingness among Democrats.

However, Americans overall are still less likely than they were earlier this year to say they'd get a COVID-19 vaccine. Four in 10 remain unwilling to get a vaccine, indicating public health officials face an uphill climb in convincing a good share of the public to do so.

A longer period of development and clinical testing may help to address three of the four most common reasons for hesitancy among those who are unwilling. However, convincing the 12% of Americans who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine due to a general distrust of vaccines may prove more difficult. Previous research by Franklin Templeton and Gallup has shown that ensuring that a vaccine is effective, has no side effects, and is approved and released next year (rather than in 2020) may help the CDC and state health departments to encourage more Americans to get the vaccine.

Learn more about how the Gallup Panel works.

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