Half of Americans say the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is moving too slowly

February 05, 2021, 7:50 PM UTC

Americans agree with many of the decisions being made about who gets priority for the COVID-19 vaccine, but many in the latest Economist/YouGov poll aren’t sure there will be enough doses to go around (36%), and half (51%) think the current rollout is too slow.

Adults over 65-years-old, most of whom expect to get vaccinated, are especially concerned about a slow rollout (62%). Republicans (41%) and those under 30 (39%) are less concerned than the rest of the population.

Four in ten Americans (38%) are critical about the former Trump Administration’s management of the vaccine rollout, calling it poor. Just one-third (37%) describe the former president’s distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine as excellent (20%) or good (17%). 

Further to this, there are some doubts about the Biden Administration’s ability to deliver the vaccine. As many are uneasy (39%) about its approach as are confident (39%) in its capacity for vaccine distribution.  

Nevertheless, half (52%) approve of how President Joe Biden is handling the pandemic – higher than the pandemic approval rating they gave former President Donald Trump at any time on this question. One-third (32%) disapprove of the current president’s performance. 

Who wants the COVID-19 vaccine? 

When it comes to vaccine willingness, 46% say they will get the vaccine and another 7% say they already have been vaccinated. Twice as many adults 65 and older have received the vaccine, while another 56% want it. Those percentages are even higher among those 75 and older: 65% want to be vaccinated and 17% already have been. 

Republicans remain skeptical about the vaccine, with one-third saying they will not (34%) be vaccinated while 42% say they want to (36%) or already have (6%). Black Americans are also not sure about the vaccine, even though they have been especially affected by the pandemic. Two in five Black Americans (39%) say they will be vaccinated (35%) or already have been, compared to 53% nationally. But even those who want to be vaccinated don’t believe all is well with the process. 

Seven in 10 Americans (71%) wanting the vaccine – and waiting for it – say the government’s distribution is too slow, and fewer than half (46%) think there are enough doses available. Some, however, are willing to wait. Just 35% of all adults want vaccine distribution to prioritize people like themselves, though the percentages are higher for those who are at special risk, for example, adults over 75 (61%) and Black Americans (51%).  

Related: Americans tend to disapprove of how President Biden is handling abortion issues 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s 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 January 31 - February 2, 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 2.9% for the overall sample.   

Image: Getty