Poll: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy ticks down but many remain opposed

As more Americans receive coronavirus vaccines, the percentage who express hesitancy about doing so has decreased. However, a substantial number continue to say they won’t or might not get vaccinated, citing concerns about adequate testing and potential side effects, as well as recent news about clots. This reluctance, if it continues, is one reason some worry about the prospects for attaining herd immunity in the U.S.

Overall, six in 10 Americans say they will get vaccinated or report having received at least one dose. That leaves four in 10 who say “maybe” (18%) or “no” outright (22%). While still notable in size, this is four points lower than the percentage who expressed hesitancy last month. It also has decreased noticeably since its February level (measured with a slightly different question).

The reasons selected by the hesitant have been relatively consistent over the past few months, and most choose more than one. Most common is “It’s still too untested/I’m waiting to see what happens” (53%), followed by general concern about allergies or side effects (40%). More specifically, some also pick reported problems with some vaccines, including news about clots (36%).

Vaccine views remain linked to partisanship, with about half of Republicans still expressing hesitancy. Republicans are particularly likely to cite distrust of the government, as well as a lack of concern about the virus and doubts about vaccine effectiveness, as reasons for their reluctance.

Republicans continue to divide by age, with younger Republicans more likely than older ones to express hesitancy. In fact, among Republicans 45 and older, six in 10 say they’ve already been vaccinated or plan to do so.

Vaccine distribution is one of President Biden’s best issues when it comes to the public’s assessments of the job he’s doing, and his approval rating on this issue is itself related to Americans’ vaccine willingness. People who have been or plan to get vaccinated overwhelmingly approve of his handling of vaccine distribution, including most Republicans. On the other hand, those who say “no” outright to vaccines, especially Republicans, largely disapprove of Biden on the issue.

As the pool of vaccine-hesitant Americans shrinks, those remaining in this group may be harder to sway. For example, people who say no outright make up a greater share of the hesitant than in March, even while their ranks have not grown in absolute terms.


This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,527 U.S. residents interviewed between April 21-24, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as the 2020 presidential vote and registration status. The margin of error is ±2.3 points.

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