College graduates report higher rates of vaccination than to non-college adults

April 19, 2021, 1:00 PM GMT+0

The United States is administering 3 million average doses of COVID-19 vaccines per day, but there are still disparities in who is willing to get the shot.

In the latest Economist/YouGov poll, a third of the adult public (35%) say they have been vaccinated already, though the question does not ask respondents to say whether they’ve been vaccinated with one or two doses. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 29.6% of US adults over 18 have received both doses, while 47.6% have gotten at least one.

Vaccination rates continue to be higher among Democrats (45% report being vaccinated in this week’s poll) than Independents (34%) and Republicans (28%). But partisanship is not the only source of group differences when it comes to vaccination.

College graduates, especially female college graduates (52%), are much more likely than women without a degree to have been vaccinated already (29%). Male college graduates (39%) are also more likely than men without a college education (21%) to have received a vaccine.

Black Americans (21%) and Hispanic Americans (28%) are less likely than white Americans (39%) to have been vaccinated.

Vaccination rates are even higher among those 65 years old and older (58% report having been vaccinated). Many senior citizens were skeptical of vaccination over the summer, but once the rollout began, resistance declined. Now just 14% of senior citizens say they will not be vaccinated, and only 11% are unsure.

How to incentivize vaccine skeptics

Motivating vaccine resisters and vaccine skeptics may be difficult. Those who reject the vaccine claim to distrust medical advice from the medical establishment, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, and from the Centers for Disease Control. They certainly do not trust advice from President Biden.

However, half of vaccine resisters (49%) claim they trust medical advice from former President Donald Trump. That’s twice the level of trust given the Centers of Disease Control (23%), Fauci (11%), and President Biden (10%).

President Trump himself was vaccinated in January. In March, he said "I would recommend it [the vaccine], and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly." He praised what he called "a great vaccine" on Fox News, but then added “But you know, again, we have our freedoms, and we have to live by that, and I agree with that also."

He is the person vaccine resisters trust the most when it comes to medical advice, and strong statements from him might change their minds. As for those who currently don’t know whether they will get vaccinated, presidential encouragement might not change many minds.

Related: Decision to pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine causes public confidence in vaccine to sink

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov poll

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between April 10 - 13, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 2.8% for the overall sample

Image: Getty