One in four Americans won’t accept just any COVID-19 vaccine

March 09, 2021, 7:00 PM UTC

President Joe Biden claimed recently that there will be enough COVID-19 vaccine doses available by the end of May to immunize every American. But the latest Economist/YouGov poll indicates that while some adults (particularly seniors) welcome the vaccine, about one in four say they will not receive any vaccine, even if offered the option of picking and choosing. Worse, those who reject the vaccine may be the ones who need it most.

Three in four adults aged 65 and older have either been vaccinated already or say they will be (some states are still limiting doses to those older than 75 or 70). A similar share of Democrats await the vaccine or have been vaccinated already. But less than half of Republicans have been vaccinated or say they will be.  

Some Americans have persistently refused to wear face masks this entire pandemic, despite advice from the Centers for Disease Control. Only one in four of this group (25%) who never wear a mask, or only wear one “some of the time”, are vaccinated or say they will be. 

About half of those who have been vaccinated (55%) say they have received both required doses, while 45% have received one.  

Some Americans have particular preferences on the vaccine, and of this group the Pfizer vaccine is the most favored. About three in five Americans still waiting to be vaccinated (63%) are more than willing to take any vaccine being offered. Only 25% of those who want to be vaccinated but have not been yet say they will wait for a specific manufacturer’s vaccine.  

Older adults over 65 years old (77%) are more likely to accept any vaccination, and Democrats (75%) are more likely than Republicans (56%) to take any vaccine available.  

Americans who won’t accept just any vaccine clearly have a favorite – the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine. Among those who have not been vaccinated but have a preference of which vaccine they would take, three in five (61%) want the Pfizer shot. The fewest say they would accept the AztraZeneca/Oxford vaccine (21%) – but that one hasn’t yet been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration

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 February 27 - March 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 2.6% for the overall sample  

Image: Getty