Public enthusiasm for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations has steadily grown since the spring, with more people supporting mandatory shots to get on a plane or go back to school. Yet deep pockets of vaccine resistance held firm across the country, even as the highly contagious Delta variant has some areas reinstituting mask mandates, according to a new U.S. survey.
Overall approval for government-ordered vaccinations ticked up two percentage points to 64 percent in the early summer, according to the study by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers. For activities such as air travel, support was even higher (70 percent in favor) compared to the last survey taken between April and May (67 percent).
While there was broad-based support across the United States for requiring vaccinations, a core group of nearly 15 percent of respondents remained either firmly opposed or highly circumspect about getting vaccinated themselves.
The stiffest opposition to mandatory inoculations came from rural residents, individuals earning less than $25,000 a year, and white people. Those most in favor lived near cities, made at least $100,000 a year, and were Asian American, according to the study.
An increase in calls for requiring vaccinations suggests that there is mounting public frustration with the unvaccinated population.
“They’re certainly connected,” says David Lazer, university distinguished professor of political science and computer sciences at Northeastern, and one of the researchers who conducted the study. “Mandates don’t directly affect the vaccinated because they’re vaccinated, but what they are doing is putting an imposition on the unvaccinated, many of whom are choosing not to be vaccinated at this point.”