Hospitals are filling up with Covid patients with one thing in common: they’re not vaccinated. Here’s who they are.
Over 100,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with Covid-19, and over 1,000 people are dying every day. These are people from all walks of life – rich and poor, white collar and blue collar, old and young. But according to an estimate from the Kaiser Family Foundation, over 98% of them have one thing in common: despite the ready availability of Covid vaccines, they chose not to get them.
The fact that Covid-19 has become a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” has been well-covered, and it dominates communications from public health authorities. However, millions of Americans who are eligible for shots still choose not to get them, and FDA approval of Pfizer’s vaccine doesn’t seem to have changed the rate of vaccinations nor people’s views on getting it. Some of those sitting out the shot are adamantly opposed to the vaccine while others claim to still be on the fence. Here’s a look at the adults who are still refusing to get a Covid vaccine, according to an analysis of nationwide polls.
OF 18-29-YEAR-OLDS SAY THEY WILL NEVER BE VACCINATED
According to polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation, this age group also has the lowest percentage of adults who’ve received at least one vaccine dose (57%). (Only 41% of parents of kids ages 12 to 17 say their child has received at least one dose.)
This age group is followed closely by 30-49 year-olds, 19% of whom say they will never be vaccinated and 58% of whom report at least one dose.
OF MEN SAY THEY WILL NEVER GET A SHOT
A gender gap in vaccine uptake has emerged and persisted in recent months, according to Kaiser. Fewer women say they will refuse the shot—10%—and are much more likely (71%) to report being vaccinated than men (63%).
According to data collected by the CDC, which covers around 90% of shots given, 53% of recipients are women and 47% men.
OF REPUBLICANS HAVE NOT YET BEEN VACCINATED
Polls consistently identify Republicans as the group least likely to report being vaccinated and the most likely to say they will never get a shot.
While the proportion has changed over time—42% said they would probably or definitely not get a vaccine when available in December, 29% said they would never get one in March and in Kaiser’s most recent polling this fell to 20%—the group still has one of the highest rates of vaccine refusal among groups polled.
Democrats consistently poll in the other direction, with just 5% saying they will never be vaccinated and 86% reporting having at least one dose.
OF WHITE EVANGELICAL PROTESTANTS HAVE NOT BEEN VACCINATED
This religious group, along with Hispanic Protestants, are the least likely to say they have or plan to be vaccinated, according to polling by the Public Religion Research Institute.
This remains unchanged from polling in March, though both reported double-digit moves towards vaccination. 24% of white evangelical Protestants say they will never get vaccinated, the highest percentage among religious groups polled.
But, as another group proves, these numbers aren’t set in stone: in March, only 56% of Hispanic Catholics had or planned to get a vaccine dose, but by June—which was even before the Pope urged everyone to get vaccinated and the FDA fully approved Pfizer’s shot—that number was 80%, which among religious groups is second only to Jews (85%).
OF RESIDENTS IN SOUTH DAKOTA SAY THEY WON’T GET THE VACCINE
According to polling by Morning Consult, South Dakota has the highest share of residents who say they are unwilling to get the vaccine – Covid cases have surged there nearly 700% since the August Sturgis Motorcycle rally.
South Dakota is followed by Idaho (32%), Alaska (29%) and Oklahoma (29%). Despite massive Covid-19 outbreaks, refusal rates in the most vaccine-resistant states have remained largely unchanged between June and August.
Mississippi and Louisiana are notable outliers, with the proportion unwilling to receive a vaccine falling from 31% to 26% and 28% to 22% respectively.
OF AGRICULTURAL WORKERS SAY THEY WON’T BE VACCINATED
According to polling from Morning Consult, this group of workers also has the highest percentage of people who say they won’t get vaccinated, followed by construction (27%) and food and drink (24%).
Workers in the tech sector reported the lowest levels of vaccine refusal—12%—and 71% of financial services workers reported being vaccinated, the highest among the sectors polled.
Health care workers came in the middle of the pack, with 17% unwilling to be vaccinated and 68% reporting having received at least one vaccine.
OF FOX NEWS CHANNEL VIEWERS ARE UNWILLING TO GET VACCINATED
Viewers who tune in to Fox News Channel at least once a month report the highest rates of vaccine refusal and the lowest level of vaccine uptake (59%) of all outlets polled by Morning Consult, including CNN, CBS and The New York Times.
Fox, with 63% reporting vaccination and 17% saying they won’t get vaccinated, had the second-lowest metrics.
Viewers tuning into MSNBC reported the highest vaccination (73%) and lowest refusal (10%) rates.
OF PEOPLE WITH LESS THAN A COLLEGE-LEVEL DEGREE SAY THEY WON’T GET A VACCINE
Willingness to get vaccinated falls sharply along educational lines, according to polling by Morning Consult.
10% of college graduates and just 7% of post-graduates said they would never get the vaccine, while 78% and 83% report having been vaccinated, respectively.
Why People Refuse Vaccines
Why are people not getting vaccinated? These disparate groups of people who are refusing the vaccine have a variety of reasons, but here are some commonalities between them.
OF ADULTS REFUSING VACCINATION ARE SKEPTICAL OF BOTH COVID AND ITS VACCINES
The vast majority—90%—of this group say they are not worried about getting sick from Covid-19 and are less convinced the vaccines work, according to Kaiser polling.
Those with no plans to get vaccinated also expressed distrust in companies making vaccines (17%) and against vaccines more generally (12%).
OF ADULTS ON THE VACCINE FENCE ARE MOSTLY WORRIED ABOUT SIDE EFFECTS
Concerns about side effects were consistently the top concern for different groups open to taking the vaccine, according to polling by Morning Consult.
Fears the vaccines moved through clinical trials too quickly was another top concern among, reported by 31% surveyed.
OF UNVACCINATED ADULTS DON’T THINK VACCINES PREVENT DYING FROM COVID-19
14% of unvaccinated people believe the shots are minimally effective at preventing death from Covid-19 and 19% say they do nothing to prevent serious illness, hospitalization or becoming infected if exposed, according to polling by Kaiser. Only 2% of vaccinated adults hold similar opinions.
According to a recent U.K. study, vaccines drastically lower the odds of severe illness, hospitalization and death among the few vaccinated people infected with Covid-19.