Unvaccinated Americans are not worried about the Delta variant

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
June 30, 2021, 2:10 PM UTC

A more dangerous strain of COVID-19 is leading to a resurgence of cases around the world, with scientists concerned that it could lead to case spikes in unvaccinated parts of the United States. The strain, called the Delta variant, is a form of the coronavirus that is more infectious than other strains and causes more severe illness.  

New Yahoo News/YouGov data shows that unvaccinated Americans are less aware of the Delta variant than vaccinated Americans, and they are also less worried than the rest of the country about the risk it poses. Awareness of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is highest among those who are already vaccinated (82%). Just two-thirds of Americans who will not get vaccinated (64%) are aware of the variation, compared to 47% of adults who are on the fence about getting the vaccine. 

Those Americans who are the least protected from the virus are also the least concerned about it. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) are very worried (29%) or somewhat worried (38%) about the Delta variant spreading in the United States. By comparison, just 45% of unvaccinated adults and 27% of adults with no plans to get vaccinated say they are worried about the Delta variant’s spread. 

Vaccinated Americans are expected to still have a high level of protection against the Delta variant, but one-quarter of Americans (27%) believe that the Delta variant poses a serious risk to all Americans. More than two in five Americans (45%) think that the variant only poses a significant risk to those who are unvaccinated. Just 15% of Americans overall say that the Delta strain is not an issue for any American. 

One-third of those who are currently unvaccinated (including those who will not get vaccinated, those who plan to get vaccinated but are not yet, and those who are unsure about vaccination) believe that the Delta variant does not pose a risk to anyone (34%). Just 14% of this group believes that the variant only poses a risk to the unvaccinated.  

Half of those who say they will never get vaccinated (50%) think the variant does not pose a risk to anyone. One in five (19%) believe it poses a serious risk to all Americans, and  6% say that it is only a danger to the unvaccinated. 

At this point, there seems to be very little that would change unvaccinated Americans’ minds about getting the shot. Three-quarters of those who are not vaccinated (75%) say the spread of the more contagious Delta variant makes "no difference” in their plans. Only 15% say the variant’s spread makes them more likely to consider vaccination. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Yahoo News/YouGov poll 

Related: Boosting the COVID-19 vaccination rate: could Donald Trump make a difference? 

Methodology: The Yahoo News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,592 U.S. adults interviewed online from June 22 to 24, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2020 presidential vote (or non-vote), and voter registration status. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. adults. The margin of error is 2.7 percent. 

Image: Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels