Free or Not, One in Three Americans Do Not Want a COVID-19 Vaccine
Sun, April 11, 2021

Free or Not, One in Three Americans Do Not Want a COVID-19 Vaccine


A recent survey showed that one-third of Americans expressed unwillingness to a COVID-19 vaccine. They would not even consider a free vaccine approved by the FDA.

The unwillingness of some Americans to a COVID-19 vaccine was revealed in a recent poll by Gallup, an American analytics company. More than three in every ten Americans preferred not to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The poll highlighted the hesitation and resistance of some in getting vaccinated. The hesitation might be detrimental in controlling the community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The survey was conducted from July 20 to August 2, 2020.

COVID-19 Death Toll Nearing 1 Million Worldwide

The COVID-19 pandemic is not slowing down as both confirmed cases and deaths continue to rise worldwide. In the 202nd Situation Report of the World Health Organization of the United Nations, a total of 19,462,112 confirmed cases and 722,285 confirmed deaths were reported in six regions. The Americas remained with the highest confirmed cases at 10,447,281 and confirmed deaths at 385,076. While the Western Pacific tallied the least confirmed cases at 365,606 and confirmed deaths at 8,718, as of August 9, 2020.

Many countries affected by COVID-19 have community transmission, a term used by epidemiology. In this scenario, there is no way to tell the clear origin of infection in a community. When a disease-free city reports its first case, community transmission cannot help epidemiologists track down where the first case contracted the disease. Travel is the most likely cause of the first case, but determining the origin is impossible. This is why lockdowns are enforced to limit movement.


The difficulty in tracing the source of transmission is due to dynamics in situations. For example, a carrier may have visited the city and touched a surface in an establishment. That surface becomes a fomite – a material that can carry pathogens. After the carrier leaves and returns to their home city, a resident enters the same establishment. If they touched the fomite and then their face, there is a high chance of getting infected. If the carrier is asymptomatic, it will be challenging to prove them as the source.

So, the only solution for community transmission is a safe and effective vaccine. While COVID-19 treatments are important, vaccines have more impactful in protecting those who are not infected by SARS-CoV-2. This prevents new cases, new deaths, and increases the likelihood of herd immunity. But what happens if not everyone has the same understanding? What if not everyone wants to be vaccinated against the disease?



One-Third of Americans Not Okay with COVID-19 Vaccines

At Gallup, a recent survey showed that not everyone in the US wants to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Although the survey did not gather the reason, analysts found the unwillingness as a potential problem in controlling the pandemic. This could sustain community transmission in some locations and start new outbreaks. If mutations occurred, the virus might develop some resistance against the vaccine.

The survey was performed between July 20 and August 2, 2020, in a random sample of 7,632 US adults, aged 18 and older. The participants were members of the Gallup Panel. The survey focused on the willingness to take an FDA-approved no-cost COVID-19 vaccine. Out of nearly 8,000 respondents, 65% expressed willingness to be vaccinated while 35% expressed unwillingness. Between genders, 65% of men and 65% of women were willing to receive the vaccine. But 35% of men and 35% of women said no to the idea. By political party, 81% of Democrats, 47% of Republicans, and 59% of independents agreed to be vaccinated. While 19% of Democrats, 53% of Republicans, and 41% of independents disagreed.

In terms of race, 67% of White Americans were eager to be vaccinated and 33% said the opposite. About 59% of non-White Americans were also eager to receive the vaccine but 41% said no. By age group, 76% of adults aged 18 to 29 years, 64% of aged 30 to 49 years, 59% of aged 50 to 64 years, and 70% of aged 65 and older were eager to COVID-19 vaccination. But 24% of adults aged 18 to 29 years, 36% of aged 30 to 49 years, 41% of aged 50 to 64 years, and 30% of aged 65 and older were uneager to immunization.

The responses also reflected the percentages of willingness and unwillingness in geographical settings. About 56% of rural or farm dwellers, 68% of small town or village dwellers, 69% of suburb dwellers, and 65% of large city dwellers were eager to the vaccine. While 44% of rural or farm dwellers, 32% of small town or village dwellers, 31% of suburb dwellers, and 35% of large city dwellers were uneager.

COVID-19 has been reported across all ages, including babies. However, the biggest proportion of cases globally is shared by young and older adults. Older adults are at a higher risk of severe health complications. While younger adults have a higher risk of transmitting the disease, likely fueled by risky behaviors.

The implications of the poll showed both lessons and issues at the community level. Many Americans now understand how deadly the novel coronavirus is. They may have realized as well how the disease smashed the global economy. Most are looking for that one-time big-time solution to end the pandemic and bring the world back to normal.

Unfortunately, there are some who are hesitant or resistant to the idea of vaccination. In rural areas, the poll suggested less eagerness than in urban areas. This indicated the persistent issues in healthcare, particularly social inequities, according to the US agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If unresolved, the hesitation could slow down vaccination efforts, and more rural dwellers would be at risk of COVID-19.

The survey numbers displayed what influencers, people who see the vaccine as a way to move forward, must do to get everyone on the same page. If more people resisted COVID-19 vaccination efforts, the more time and resources will be needed to truly end community transmission.