More than one in three Americans says states should mandate that residents get the COVID-19 vaccine, which has begun the rollout process in small batches this week.
According to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll, 39 percent of respondents said they think state governments should compel their residents to get the immunization. Scientists have said that between 60 and 80 percent of the population must receive the vaccine in order for it to have a “herd immunity” effect, in which enough people are vaccinated that it slows the spread of the virus and protects those who haven't - or can't be - immunized.
But despite more than a third who’ve said the government should mandate the vaccine, nearly half – 44 percent – said they’re planning to wait to get the shot. Only 40 percent – far lower than the total goal of 70-80 percent or more – said they plan to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available, including 57 percent of those over than age of 65.
Fifteen percent, most of them Republicans, said they won’t be getting the vaccine at all.
When asked who should be prioritized for the first doses of the vaccine, the vast majority said health care workers, first responders, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions should be first in line, with only 16 percent listing “politicians” as a high priority.
Trust in the vaccine and concern over catching the virus seems largely split among party lines, with 99 percent of Democrats saying they’re somewhat or very concerned about catching COVID, compared to just 52 percent of Republicans. Seventy-eight percent of Democrats said they support keeping schools closed during the pandemic, while 79 percent of Republicans said they want to see schools opened back up. Even still, 3 in 5 parents said they’re worried their children are falling behind in school thanks to virtual learning.