TAMPA, Fla. — The fear of contracting COVID-19 continued to plummet from a high of nearly 83 percent last year to the current level of 42 percent, according to a new Monmouth University poll.
While the fear may be plummeting, the nation may never be able to fully rid itself of the disease as the poll found 21 percent of Americans refuse to get the vaccine at all. Monmouth researchers said this number has remained consistent during the vaccine rollout. Unfortunately, if enough people don’t get the vaccine or acquire some degree of immunity through surviving the disease; it may be near impossible to reach herd immunity.
Currently, Monmouth found 66 percent of Americans reported they have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, matching estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another two percent said they were getting the vaccine as soon as possible while nine percent said they were hesitant, “but persuadable.”
Monmouth University researchers said among the 21 percent of Americans who refuse to get the vaccine, 69 percent identify with or lean toward the Republican Party while 13 percent identify with or lean toward the Democrats. Researchers said a consistent message of the need to get the vaccine from GOP leaders will be the only way to improve this number.
“We have seen this trend since vaccines became available. Opposition to getting the shot will not budge without stronger and more consistent messaging from GOP leaders about taking the vaccine,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “However, it might be too late at this point since Republican distrust in the efficacy of COVID vaccines is abysmally low.”
Even though the fear may be declining, the poll found 57 percent of Americans are either very or somewhat concerned another surge will happen if enough people aren’t vaccinated.
Finally, on the politics of dealing with the pandemic, Monmouth asked how Americans felt President Joe Biden was doing in his administration’s handling of the pandemic. The poll found 59 percent of Americans said President Biden has done a good job versus 32 percent saying he’s done a poor job handling the pandemic. The poll also gave positive marks to the nation’s governors (58-33) and federal health agencies (55-33).