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Public Satisfied with Vaccine Rollout, But 1 in 4 Still Unwilling to Get It


Opinion of governors, federal agencies positive at anniversary mark

West Long Branch, NJ – The American public has become less concerned about contracting Covid-19 since vaccines have become more widely available. However, 1 in 4 remain unwilling to get the shot, even though most are satisfied with the vaccine rollout so far. The Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll also finds that public opinion of how state governors and federal health agencies have handled the pandemic remain largely positive, although not quite as positive as they were at its onset one year ago. Confidence in President Joe Biden’s ability to get the outbreak under control has dipped since he first took office, but remains largely positive.

Despite the recent increase in vaccinations, public expectations about when the country will get the outbreak under control have moved in a more pessimistic direction over the past few months. One in five (21%) Americans currently think we will be able to return to normal by the summer, which is down from 29% who said the same in late January. Another 40% anticipate normalcy by the end of the year, 27% say it will take longer than that, and 9% believe we will never return to normal.

On a positive note, worry about a family member getting seriously ill from the virus has dropped sharply in recent weeks. Currently, 40% are very concerned and 28% are somewhat concerned about this happening in their families. The number who were very concerned had been climbing since the fall. It hit 47% in September and 50% in November, and then topped out at 60% in January, before dropping in the current poll. The current number is more in line with Monmouth polls from late spring through the summer of 2020.

 “Public optimism is mixed as we clock one year of living with the pandemic. The wider availability of vaccines seems to have alleviated some immediate concerns about falling ill that had grown through the end of last year. However, most Americans feel that ‘normal’ is still many months away and perhaps a little farther down the road than initially hoped for during Biden’s first days in office,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

A majority of Americans are generally satisfied with how the Covid vaccines have been rolled out, although just 18% are very satisfied while 42% are somewhat satisfied. Another 22% are somewhat dissatisfied with the rollout and 13% are very dissatisfied. Overall satisfaction with the vaccine rollout is bipartisan – including 69% of Democrats and 58% of Republicans, as well as 54% of independents.

There has not been a lot of movement in willingness to get the vaccine – or not. Currently, 24% of Americans claim they will never get the vaccine if they can avoid it and another 21% prefer to let other people get it first to see how it goes. These numbers are virtually unchanged from January (24% and 19%, respectively). A majority of the public, on the other hand, have been vaccinated already (16%) or plan to get the shot as soon as they are allowed (38%).

Partisanship remains the main distinguishing factor among those who want to avoid the vaccine altogether, with 36% of Republicans versus just 6% of Democrats saying this. Reluctance among these two groups has declined slightly since January (by 6 points among Republicans and 4 points among Democrats), while it has actually grown among independents. Currently, 31% of independents say they want to avoid getting the vaccine altogether – an increase of 6 points since January.

Demographically, there has been a decline in unwillingness to get the vaccine at all among people of color (from 22% in January to 14% now), while this sentiment among whites has remained stable (from 26% in January to 28% now). Similar number of whites (18%) and people of color (15%) report already getting the shot. The poll also finds that 42% of those aged 65 and older report being vaccinated, compared with 10% of adults under 65 years old.

Most Americans (57%) are aware that the number of new Covid cases has been decreasing over the past few weeks, although 23% say that the infection rate has remained about the same and 12% think it has been on the rise. One in five (20%) say that most of the recent decline has been due to the availability of vaccines while 30% say either not much or none of this decline is due to vaccinations. In contrast, 28% of the public says that most of the recent drop in infections would have happened anyway without the vaccines, while 32% says not much or none of the decline is a product of the virus simply running its course. Republicans (43%) and independents (36%) are more likely than Democrats (13%) to say that the availability of vaccines played little to no role in the recent drop in new Covid cases.

“Partisanship has always been the main dividing line on the pandemic. A new challenge for the Biden administration is the possibility of more independents joining Republicans in becoming vaccine skeptics,” said Murray.

President Biden gets positive reviews for his handling of the crisis overall, with 57% saying he has done a good job and 31% saying he has done a bad job. This rating stood at 58% good job and 23% bad job in late January.

Six in ten (60%) Americans are confident that Biden can put the country on the road to recovery from the outbreak. This is down from 71% who felt this way just a few days into his presidency, but remains higher than public confidence about candidate Biden during the presidential campaign (52% confident in September), as well as for then-president Donald Trump (44% in September). Nearly all Democrats (94%, similar to 97% in January) and just over half of independents (52%, down from 69%) have at least some confidence in Biden’s ability to get the virus under control. They are joined by 27% of Republicans in this view (down from 36%).

In other ratings, the public continues to give relatively high marks for how their state governors have handled the pandemic (56% good job and 38% bad job). They also have a net positive opinion of health agencies in the federal government (50% good job and 37% bad job). Looking over the past year, positive ratings for state governors started out in the low 70s during the first few months of the outbreak, dipped into the mid-60s in June and have since hovered between 56% and 61%. Federal health agency ratings started out at 65% a year ago, dipped to 57% in June and then 46% in August, before rising to 52% this January.

“Neither governors nor federal health agencies are getting quite the widespread praise they enjoyed early in the pandemic. But both groups continue to garner fairly positive reviews one year on,” said Murray.

The American public, on the other hand, continues to get negative ratings for how it has been dealing with the outbreak – 35% good job and 53% bad job. The good job number given to our fellow Americans started off just under 40% in March, rising briefly into net positive territory in the late spring before declining sharply in the summer. The high mark for ratings of how the American public has handled the outbreak was 51% good job and 33% bad job in May. The low point was 26% good job and 62% bad job in August.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from February 25 to March 1, 2021 with 802 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.


(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-13 previously released.]

[Q14-21 held for future release.]

22.How concerned are you about someone in your family becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus outbreak – very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not at all concerned?

Early Sept.
Late June
Early June
  Very concerned40%60%50%47%41%41%37%42%50%38%
  Somewhat concerned28%19%25%27%28%26%32%28%33%32%
  Not too concerned14%12%13%13%18%17%14%14%9%18%
  Not at all concerned16%7%10%12%13%15%16%16%7%12%
  (VOL) Don’t know0%0%0%0%0%0%0%0%0%0%
  (VOL) Has already happened2%2%1%0%1%1%0%0%0%n/a

23.Please tell me if each of the following has done a good job or bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

(VOL) Mixed,
(VOL) Don’t

President Biden57%31%3%8%(802)
   — January 202158%23%5%15%(809)
Your state’s governor56%38%3%2%(802)
   — January 202157%38%3%2%(809)
   — Early September 202061%35%3%1%(867)
   — August 202057%35%5%3%(868)
   — Late June 202065%28%5%2%(867)
   — Early June 202067%28%3%1%(807)
   — May 202073%22%3%2%(808)
   — April 202072%21%4%3%(857)
   — March 202072%18%4%6%(851)
The American public35%53%11%1%(802)
   — January 202132%60%6%2%(809)
   — Early September 202031%57%10%2%(867)
   — August 202026%62%11%1%(868)
   — Late June 202028%59%11%3%(867)
   — Early June 202046%43%8%2%(807)
   — May 202051%33%13%2%(808)
   — April 202038%48%12%2%(857)
   — March 202038%45%14%3%(851)
Health agencies in the federal government50%37%8%5%(802)
   — January 202152%40%6%3%(809)
   — Early September 2020n/an/an/an/an/a
   — August 202046%43%6%4%(868)
   — Late June 2020n/an/an/an/an/a
   — Early June 202057%34%5%3%(807)
   — May 202063%25%7%4%(808)
   — April 202066%25%4%4%(857)
   — March 202065%24%8%4%(851)

24.How confident are you that Joe Biden can put the country on the road to recovery from the pandemic – very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

Early Sept.
Very confident28%36%21%16%
Somewhat confident32%35%31%32%
Not too confident12%13%14%12%
Not at all confident27%15%32%36%
(VOL) Don’t know2%1%2%3%

       * Registered voters

25.When do you think the country will get the outbreak under control and be able to return to normal – in the next month or two, by the summer, before the end of the year, later than that, or never?

In the next month or two4%6%
By the summer17%23%
Before the end of the year40%39%
Later than that27%24%
(VOL) Don’t know4%2%

26.How satisfied are you with how the Covid vaccines have been rolled out – very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

Very satisfied18%
Somewhat satisfied42%
Somewhat dissatisfied22%
Very dissatisfied13%
(VOL) Don’t know5%

27.Do you plan to get the Covid vaccine as soon as you are allowed, will you let other people get it first to see how it goes, or is it likely you will never get the vaccine if you can avoid it?

As soon as allowed38%50%
See how it goes21%19%
Likely will never get vaccine24%24%
(VOL) Already got it16%6%
(VOL) Don’t know1%2%

28.As far as you know, have the number of new Covid cases in the country increased, decreased, or stayed about the same over the past few weeks?

Stayed about the same23%
(VOL) Don’t know7%

29.The number of Covid cases has actually been decreasing. How much of this decrease is due to the availability of vaccines – most of it, some of it, not much of it, or none of it?

Most of it20%
Some of it45%
Not much of it18%
None of it12%
(VOL) Don’t know4%

30.And how much of this decrease is just a product of the virus running its course and would have happened without the vaccines – most of it, some of it, not much of it, or none of it?

Most of it28%
Some of it35%
Not much of it19%
None of it13%
(VOL) Don’t know5%


The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from February 25 to March 1, 2021 with a national random sample of 802 adults age 18 and older. This includes 281 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 521 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

26% Republican
39% Independent
34% Democrat
49% Male
51% Female
30% 18-34
32% 35-54
38% 55+
63% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.