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More in U.S. Vaccinated After Delta Surge, FDA Decision

More in U.S. Vaccinated After Delta Surge, FDA Decision

Story Highlights

  • 75% of U.S. adults report being vaccinated, up six points in past month
  • Majority of Republicans are now vaccinated after sharp uptick
  • 15% of white-collar, 33% of blue-collar workers are vaccine reluctant

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The percentage of U.S. adults who report being vaccinated for COVID-19 jumped to 75% in September, after three months when the figure languished at just under 70%. An additional five percent of adults say they plan to be vaccinated, pushing the combined percentage either vaccinated or planning to be up to 80%, the highest yet this year.

The relatively sharp upturn in U.S. adults being vaccinated this month follows an eventful period in the pandemic.

  • Public worry about contracting COVID-19 has been higher the past two months amidst a spike in infections around the country due to the delta variant of the coronavirus. Forty percent of adults now say they are very or somewhat worried about being infected, similar to 39% in August but up from 29% in July and 17% in June.

  • On August 23, the Food and Drug Administration announced its decision to give full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use with people 16 and older -- the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive that designation. Accordingly, Gallup tracking finds a sharp decline in vaccine-resistant Americans saying they are waiting for FDA approval.

  • According to Gallup polling, there has been a big jump -- from 19% in August to 29% in September -- in the percentage of U.S. workers who report that their employer will require workers to be vaccinated.


Line graph. Monthly trends from January to September 2021 in the percentage of U.S. adults reporting they are vaccinated as well as the total percentage vaccinated or planning to be. Seventy-five percent of adults in September say they have been fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19, up six points from 69% in August as well as July. The total percentage of adults who either have been vaccinated or plan to be is now 80%, up from 77% the prior two months and the highest yet in 2021

The latest results are based on a Sept. 13-19 update of Gallup's monthly COVID-19 tracking survey, conducted by web using the probability-based Gallup Panel.

Majority of Republican Adults Now Vaccinated

Vaccination for COVID-19 continues to vary sharply by party ID, with much larger percentages of Democrats than Republicans reporting they have taken the vaccine.

However, for the first time, a majority of Republicans, 56%, say they have received at least one dose. This is up six percentage points from August, the largest monthly uptick in vaccination among Republicans since April when vaccines were just becoming widely available.


Line graph. Monthly trends from January to September 2021 in party groups' reported COVID-19 vaccination status. In September, 92% of Democrats, 68% of independents and 56% of Republicans report being fully or partly vaccinated. Democrats' vaccination is up only slightly in recent months, while the percentage of independents who are vaccinated is up six points since August and the percentage of Republicans is up seven points.

Still, Republicans retain the lowest vaccination rate of any major subgroup of Americans. By contrast, more than 70% of men and women, White and non-White adults, and adults in all four major regions of the country say they have been vaccinated.

Vaccination varies only slightly by age, with those younger than 35 (79%) and 55 or older (77%) more likely than adults 35 to 54 (68%) to report already being vaccinated.

COVID-19 Vaccination Status Among U.S. Demographic Groups in September 2021
Fully or partially vaccinated Vaccinated^ or plan to be Don't plan to be vaccinated
% % %
U.S. adults 75 80 20
Men 73 78 22
Women 77 82 18
18 to 34 79 82 18
35 to 54 68 74 26
55 and older 77 83 17
Non-Hispanic white adults 73 78 22
Non-white adults 78 85 15
North 79 86 14
Midwest 73 78 22
South 73 78 22
West 76 81 19
Party ID
Democrats 92 97 3
Independents 68 74 26
Republicans 56 60 40
^Fully or partially
Gallup Panel, Sept. 13-19, 2021

Employed Adults Match National Average in Vaccination

On September 9, President Joe Biden announced plans to require all federal workers to be vaccinated and mandating that large private employers require their employees be vaccinated. While it is too soon for that policy to affect workers' vaccination status, the September poll finds that employed Americans are identical to the national average in their vaccination status -- 75% of employed adults report they have received one or two shots. Unemployed workers (70%) and homemakers (63%) fall below that level while retirees (79%) are slightly above it.

There are also notable differences by type of occupation, with 80% of white-collar workers reporting they are vaccinated, compared with 62% of blue-collar workers. Additionally, a notable 90% of those in the education field and 82% of healthcare workers (groups excluded from Gallup's definition of white-collar workers for this analysis) say they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

All of these figures increase when factoring in those who say they plan to be vaccinated. That leaves about two in 10 employed Americans -- including 15% of white-collar workers and 33% of blue-collar workers -- who don't plan to be vaccinated. This may present challenges to large employers if their employees refuse to comply or look for alternate employment.

COVID-19 Vaccination Status of U.S. Employment Groups in September 2021
Fully or partially vaccinated Vaccinated^ or plan to be Don't plan to be vaccinated
% % %
Employment status
Employed full- or part-time 75 79 21
Unemployed 70 78 22
Retired 79 86 14
Homemaker 63 67 33
Area of work
White collar 80 85 15
Blue collar 62 67 33
Education 90 93 7
Healthcare 82 85 15
^ Fully or partially
Gallup Panel, Sept. 13-19, 2021

Fewer Vaccine Resisters Cite Awaiting FDA Approval

With 80% of Americans indicating they are willing to be vaccinated or that they already have been, 20% are now resistant to taking the shot. That is down from 23% in August and the lowest recorded since coronavirus vaccines became available to the general public earlier this year.

Of that 20%, just 1% in September says the main reason they do not plan to get vaccinated is that they are waiting for FDA approval or otherwise have their concerns about the safety of coronavirus vaccines addressed. That is down from 5% in August, prior to the FDA's decision on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Another 5% of Americans say they are not getting vaccinated because they have already had COVID-19 or they have the antibodies.

Four percent are reluctant to get vaccinated because they still have concerns about the timeline for developing the vaccines. This figure has been fairly constant all year, as are the percentages saying the reason is they don't trust vaccines in general (3%), that they are concerned about having an allergic reaction (2%), or that they are waiting to see how effective the vaccines are (2%).

Meanwhile, the percentage thinking they wouldn't face serious health consequences from COVID-19 should they be stricken is now 3%, similar to the August rate but down from 6% in February.

Reasons for Not Willing to Be Vaccinated, Based on U.S. Adults
What is the main reason that you would not agree to receive a coronavirus/COVID-19 vaccine, if one was available to you now?
Feb 14-21, 2021 Aug 16-22, 2021 Sep 13-19, 2021
% % %
Have had COVID-19 or have the antibodies 3 5 5
Concerned about timeline for developing the vaccines 5 3 4
Don't trust vaccines generally 4 4 3
Don't think would face serious health consequences from COVID-19 6 3 3
Concerned about allergic reaction 3 3 2
Waiting to see how effective vaccines are 2 2 2
Waiting to confirm safe/for full FDA approval 6 5 1
Total not planning to get vaccinated 29 23 20
Gallup Panel, Sept. 13-19, 2021

Bottom Line

Three in four U.S. adults are now vaccinated, at least partially, for the coronavirus, while another 5% plan to be. Additionally, 5% of adults report that they don't plan to be vaccinated but have had COVID-19 or have tested positive for the antibodies. While this doesn't meet public health standardsfor preventing the spread of COVID-19 or satisfy Biden's mandate that certain workers be vaccinated, it may at least afford these vaccine-resisters some immunity, though it is unclear how much and for how long.

Several factors may have helped boost the U.S. vaccination rate six points over the past month. This could include the FDA's recent approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and heightened concern about contracting the coronavirus after two straight months of the delta surge. Additionally, while Gallup data show most remote workers are still not back to an office or other worksite, some may have gotten vaccinated in anticipation of going back after Labor Day.

Future efforts at encouraging Americans to get voluntarily vaccinated will be most effective if they target the 5% of adults who already plan to take the shot. Then addressing the subset of vaccine resisters who have concerns about vaccine safety or the accelerated timeline for vaccine development could be fruitful, particularly if the FDA issues full approval for additional COVID-19 vaccines. Improved clarity around the immunity afforded to people who have had COVID-19 could either convince some recovered adults to finally get vaccinated or exempt them from vaccination, depending on what the research ultimately shows.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how compliant unvaccinated workers will be with the patchwork of employer, state and federal vaccine mandates affecting the workplace, and in some cases, being challenged in statehouses and courts. Those employees may ultimately have to decide between giving in to being vaccinated, or finding a job with a new employer, possibly in a different field of work, that doesn't require employee vaccinations.

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