Aug 31, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Axios-Ipsos poll: Vaccine hesitancy may be crumbling

Likelihood that parents will get the COVID-19 vaccine for their children as soon as available
Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. is showing signs of crumbling, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • Fewer adults than ever now say they won't take the shot, and in the past two weeks there has been a sharp increase in the share of parents who plan to get their younger kids vaccinated as soon as it's allowed.

The big picture: Many factors are playing a role — including the Delta variant's strength, kids' return to school and FDA approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine — but the biggest drivers appear to be the rise of mandates.

  • One in three unvaccinated Americans in the survey said FDA approval would make them likely to take the vaccine. But 43% said their boss requiring vaccinations would make them likely to do so, up from 33% a month ago.

What they're saying: "Schools, organizations, companies, governments implementing mandates are forcing people to deal with them," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs. "That's what going on."

Why it matters: Ipsos pollster and senior vice president Chris Jackson notes that children younger than 12 — about 48 million people — now make up the largest group of unvaccinated people in the country.

By the numbers: 68% of parents said they either have already vaccinated their children or are likely to as soon as it's permitted for their age group. That's the highest share ever in our survey, and a 12-point spike from 56% just two weeks ago.

  • 72% of adults now say they've already taken the vaccine. Another 8% say they're likely to take it.
  • The 20% who say they're either not very likely (6%) or not at all likely (14%) comprise a new low in the survey, and down from a combined 34% in March and 23% two weeks ago.

Between the lines: Over the past two weeks, the survey found an across-the-board rise in indicators related to work or government mandates.

  • 19% said their employers are requiring all workers to get vaccinated, up from 16% two weeks ago.
  • 54% said employers are requiring all workers to wear masks in the workplace, up from 51%.
  • 22% said their employers had extended or returned to a work from home policy, up from 17%.
  • 40% also reported their state or local governments were requiring masks to be worn in public places, up from 33% two weeks ago; and another 40% said teachers or government workers in their area were being requiring to get the vaccine, up from 34%.

People are adjusting their own behaviors as well: 56% saw friends or relatives outside the home in the last week, the lowest share since April. Half of respondents said they are practicing social distancing, the highest share since early May — though only 12% said they're canceling travel plans.

  • 60% say returning to their normal, pre-coronavirus lives right now would pose a large or moderate risk — up from 53% just two weeks ago.

The intrigue: The share of Americans who say they feel hopeful right now has plummeted to 34%, from 48% in March — but those saying they feel motivated, energized, inspired or resilient has risen by at least as much.

  • That suggests that, rather than giving up, these Americans are reassessing their expectations about how quick a fix the first generation of vaccines alone can be— and resolving to do what it takes over the long haul.

Methodology: This Axios/Ipsos Poll was conducted Aug. 27-30 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,071 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for Axios PM

Go deeper