Vaccine mandates: Americans support them for teachers, airline workers, and police officers

August 16, 2021, 2:30 PM UTC

With the pandemic becoming more severe, many employers and government agencies have announced that they will require their employees to get coronavirus vaccines, including soldiers in the U.S. militaryschool teachers and school staff in California, and staff at United Airlines.

Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov poll approve of these mandates, for the most part.

Some of the highest levels of support for mandatory vaccines are for medical providers (63% support), members of Congress (61%), teachers (61%), and airline employees (60%). But the party gap is great: as many as 88% of Democrats support these vaccine mandates, while Republicans tend to oppose them all (with the exception of medical providers). 

By more than two to one, the public supports mandatory vaccinations for those in the military (58% support, 28% do not). Those who have served in the U.S. military agree with the mandate by 50% to 35%. About half of Americans also support vaccinations for college students (54% support) and K-12 students who qualify (52%).

Mask mandates have also reappeared for Congress and for schools. Many people have the same views about mask mandates as they have about vaccine mandates. By 62% to 24%, the public believes members of Congress should have to wear masks. Four in five Democrats (80%) agree, while just 3% do not. Four in 10 Republicans (40%) agree, while 45% oppose Congressional mask mandates.  

Masking students in K-12 is not as popular. Around half of US adults (54%) want a mask mandate for those in kindergarten through 12th grade. Democrats (87%) are nearly three times as likely as Republicans (29%) to support the requirement. 

One thing Republicans and Democrats agree on is that the pandemic will be with us for a long time. Majorities expect the pandemic will last until after 2022 – with one in five believing it will never be over. Republicans (52%) and Democrats (46%) alike also tend to believe the United States' economy will take more than two years to recover from all the ground lost during the pandemic.

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Related: Perceptions of Biden’s performance are beginning to slide 

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 August 7 - 10, 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