Jul 30, 2021 - Health

Vaccine mandates are popular

Support for different types of vaccine mandates shows little change in recent months
Data: The COVID States Project; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they'd support federal, state or local governments requiring everyone to get a coronavirus vaccine, according to a new survey conducted by The COVID States Project.

Why it matters: This kind of blanket mandate hasn't even been proposed, at any level of government. But more piecemeal requirements are rapidly becoming more popular, and the survey suggests Americans are fine with that.

The big picture: There's recently been a surge in vaccine requirements for employees among health care organizations, governments and private businesses.

  • The federal government yesterday became the latest employer to create a new vaccination policy.
  • But many of these requirements stop short of being actual vaccine mandates, and instead impose additional burdens — such as extra testing — on people who choose to remain unvaccinated. They also only apply to a select group of people, like employees, students or customers.

By the numbers: 64% of respondents said in June or July that they'd support government vaccine requirements, a slight bump up from the 62% who said the same in April or May.

  • 70% said they'd support vaccine requirements to get on an airplane; 61% support requiring children to be vaccinated to go to school; and 66% support requiring college students to be vaccinated to attend a university.
  • A majority of every demographic subgroup except Republicans said they'd support vaccine requirements. Only 45% of Republicans said they approve of such mandates.
  • A majority of respondents in all but three states — Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota — said they support requirements that everyone be vaccinated.

Between the lines: Unsurprisingly, vaccinated people are more likely to support mandates, and most of the people who "strongly disapprove" of mandates are unvaccinated, according to Matthew Baum, a public policy professor at Harvard University and one of the report's authors.

My thought bubble: Vaccine mandates — and vaccines themselves — may be controversial, but only among a minority of Americans.

  • That may help explain why congressional Republicans' response to new vaccine requirements has been relatively muted, at least compared to their reaction to updated masking guidance.

Go deeper: The Republicans' mixed mandate message

Go deeper