Apr 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans say J&J pause was the right call

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.3% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.3% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Most Americans support the pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and so far there's no evidence that it's leading to broader vaccine hesitancy, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Driving the news: In our weekly national survey, 91% of respondents were aware of the temporary pause recommended by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease for Control and Prevention. Of those, 88% said the pause was a responsible decision.

  • Republicans were almost as likely to support the pause as Democrats, an indication this issue hasn't been politicized.
  • The fact that 91% knew about it within the first few days is an extremely high level of awareness for a news event, and indicates how closely Americans are following vaccine news.
  • 98% of Americans 65 and older said they were aware of the pause.

Why it matters: Some officials have expressed concern that the handling of the pause could needlessly scare some Americans from getting vaccinated and make it harder to reach the vaccination levels needed to get the virus under control.

  • But the survey finds no indication of this yet. Asked how likely they are to get the first generation vaccine as soon as it's available, 30 percent said they're not likely to — the same share that has said so for the last month, and far lower than the peak of 63% last September.

What they're saying: "People are unfazed," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs. "The way forward is about the vaccine, so if there’s any stumble people are going to pay attention to it — but it hasn’t had an impact thus far" on willingness to get the vaccine.

  • He said 91% societal awareness over last week's pause is "super impressive" — greater than one would likely see with a question like who won the Super Bowl, and more akin to results of a presidential election result or even 9/11 in terms of instant awareness.
  • That's driven by the public's intense desire to return to normalcy, he said, and "the perception is the vaccines are so essential for getting back to normal."

What we're watching: 7% said they knew someone who had traveled to another state to get the vaccine.

  • Three-fourths of those who have been vaccinated say they found shots within half an hour of their homes, with another 20% saying they had to travel between 30 minutes and an hour.
  • Only 3% overall traveled more than an hour for their shots— but that rose to 10% among 18-to-29 year olds and 7% among people who live in rural areas.

The big picture: The survey found Americans are increasingly leaving their homes, with historically low numbers since the start of the pandemic on those who are self-quarantining (11%) and social distancing (61%) and high numbers for those going out to eat (48%).

  • Only 63% are saying they are wearing a mask at all times when they leave home, the lowest since we began asking the question last July — and 13% say they never or only occasionally wear masks, a survey high.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted April 16-19 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,033 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.
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