Apr 27, 2021 - Health

Political leanings sway seniors' vaccine enthusiasm

Percent of seniors who say they are likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine or are already vaccinated
Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Seniors are more enthusiastic about the coronavirus vaccines than younger Americans, but even that high-risk population is still subject to some partisan divides, according to Axios-Ipsos polling over the last several months.

The big picture: In the most recent waves of our Axios-Ipsos survey, 85% of seniors said they had already been vaccinated, or were likely to get vaccinated.

  • Real-world results bear that out: 82% of U.S. seniors have received at least one dose of the vaccine, per the CDC.

Yes, but: Even though a large majority of seniors have embraced the vaccine, partisanship is still the biggest dividing line — mirroring the trends in the population as a whole.

  • 95% of Democrats over the past month said they have gotten vaccinated or are likely to — compared to 84% of independents and 78% of Republicans.
  • 17% of Republican seniors said they have gotten back to their pre-pandemic lives, compared to just 3% of Democrats and 9% of independents.
  • There's no racial divide in seniors' vaccine enthusiasm, at least between white and non-white seniors. Higher-income seniors are more enthusiastic than their lower-income peers, but enthusiasm has increased across all income levels.

Between the lines: The partisan divide has basically flipped since last fall. When Donald Trump was still president, and some critics feared he would rush a vaccine through the approval process, only 42% of Democratic seniors said they were likely to get vaccinated, compared to 53% of Republican seniors.

What's next: 15% of seniors said they're not likely to get a shot — leaving them at serious risk, no matter their politics.

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