In The kNOW: The Unvaccinated: A Closer Look
Many of us here at NuVoodoo recently got our SECOND round of COVID. Despite being vaccinated and boosted. It seems we all know someone that has now either gotten COVID a second time or has had it despite being vaccinated. But none of us personally know a vaccinated person who’s become seriously, hospital, ill. We know we’re not alone in wondering, ‘who’s not getting vaccinated?’ Our current COVID and vaccination check-in surveyed over 1,800 Americans aged 18 to 64 and asked myriad questions. But for this issue, we’re diving deep into vaccination status, breaking it down by demographics, stated affiliations, opinions on contentious topics and more.
With another variant outbreak setting daily records for U.S. virus cases, coupled with many schools and employers moving to require vaccinations, plus reports that the vaccinated have far milder symptoms when they do get COVID, we were curious to understand more about those who’ve chosen not to get vaccinated. How are they different from those who are vaccinated? What we found confirmed some hypotheses but also presented some unexpected discoveries. But as always, people never disappoint when it comes to piquing and driving our curiosity. Get ready to see a TON of charts and graphs – there’s a lot packed into this month’s article.
First, we explore vaccination status by standard demographic information. Differences across gender are relatively flat, except for vaccination booster recipients. Slightly more men than women have received their boosters. When looking at age, people aged 25 to 44 under-index for vaccination, particularly full vaccination + booster, while older Americans 45 and up over-index for vaccination.
When it comes to race, Asian/ Pacific Islanders over-index for full vaccination + booster, and moreso than others overall, have decided to vaccinate. Whites and those who selected ‘Other’ for race/ ethnicity over-index for not vaccinated with no intention to vaccinate.
What we found looking at household size and households with children 18 and under was a bit surprising at first glance. We believed highly-vaccinated older and less vaccinated younger adults would make up smaller households – essentially canceling each other out in terms of vaccination vs. unvaccinated numbers, which appears accurate. We didn’t anticipate lower vaccination rates for bigger households with Children 18 and under. With vaccinations for children approved months ago, most schools back in session live across the country and many extracurricular activities resuming, we found it surprising that these parent respondents were less vaccinated than their childless counterparts. Before vaccination approval for children, we supposed that many were waiting until the whole family could get vaccinated – but now, we’re not so sure. Perhaps these parents now want to see how children react to the vaccine.
The wealthiest Americans are also among the most vaccinated and boosted by household income. Unfortunately, the poorest Americans are the least so. Furthermore, those making Under $25,000 per year also report they intend NOT to get vaccinated at a significantly higher rate than their wealthier counterparts.
We see the same pattern for education level. The most educated Americans are the most vaccinated and boosted, while the least educated are also the least vaccinated. Interestingly, the least educated (Some HS) Americans have the largest share of not vaccinated and undecided/intend to, 30% to be exact. The group with the second-highest share for this measure makes Under $25,000 (22%), indicating likely barriers to information and access for these vulnerable populations.
Not surprisingly, the differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated go well beyond demographics. Given the politicization around COVID, vaccinations, masks, mandates and more, it’s no surprise that divisiveness appears across political affiliations. Significantly more Democrats are vaccinated than Republicans, 82% to 59%, respectively. And over ¼ of Republicans state they have no intention of getting vaccinated.
When it comes to whether the federal government should mandate ways to best prevent more COVID deaths, the unvaccinated that do not intend to vaccinate are the most strongly opposed. Furthermore, not as many of the vaccinated + boosted crowd strongly agree the federal government should set mandates either; only about 1/3 in fact.
Not surprisingly, the unvaccinated support an individual’s choice in deciding for themselves what health measures are necessary to prevent Covid sickness. Nearly 60% ‘Strongly Agree’ it should be their choice.
This individual choice extends to mask-wearing. But more of those deciding not to get vaccinated may wear a mask than you’d imagine. In fact, of the people that do not intend to get vaccinated, it’s just about an even split between leaning towards wearing one or not, with 10% saying they’re just not sure.
Their resistance to masks doesn’t appear to mean they believe the vaccines have done a good job protecting people from COVID. In fact, nearly 60% of those with no plan to get vaccinated ‘strongly disagree’ that the vaccine has performed well.
But does this mean they don’t believe in the vaccines or don’t believe COVID is as dangerous? It looks as though the latter is true for many of the unvaccinated.
Given their characteristics and beliefs about COVID and vaccinations, what do the unvaccinated think about the future? The unvaccinated seem split on the idea that ‘it’s inevitable that everyone will eventually get Covid.
This brief look into the opinions and characteristics of unvaccinated Americans appears to illustrate ‘two camps’ of unvaccinated thinking. We’ve all seen and heard about these folks in the news, online and perhaps within our own families. There’s the ‘COVID is just the flu’ denier group, and then there’s the ‘COVID is real, but I’m not taking a vaccine that feels rushed and forced on me’ group. Those seem to be where many of the unvaccinated we surveyed appear to land.
This article offers just a glimpse of the questions we asked in our regular COVID and Vaccination survey. Feel free to reach out if you’re curious to learn more or want to chat. We’re always digging in and exploring. We’d be happy to bring you along.
Our ‘In the kNOW’ series tackles the burning questions we all want to know about right NOW. If you have questions you think we should ask, topics we should explore, things you’d like to learn more about, shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.