Most Americans Now Know Someone Who's Been Vaccinated

But few expect the U.S. to return to a pre-pandemic normal any time soon, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

Most Americans now know somebody who’s been vaccinated against the coronavirus, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

A 61% majority of Americans say they know someone who’s already received the vaccine. Among those aged 65 and older, the number is roughly three-quarters.

Ariel Edwards-Levy/HuffPost

So far, 46 million doses of the coronavirus have been administered in the U.S. That increasing familiarity could produce a beneficial domino effect as the vaccine becomes more widely available this year.

“Knowing someone who has been vaccinated and seeing that the vaccine does not produce any significant adverse effects” may be one of the best ways of convincing those around them to get vaccinated themselves, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman wrote earlier this month, noting that “when we ask people who they want to see get vaccinated before doing it themselves, their close friends and family members are at the top of the list.”

About half of the public has either already received a vaccine (11%) or plans to get one when it’s available (40%), according to the HuffPost/YouGov survey, with 31% saying they don’t plan to get vaccinated and 18% that they’re unsure. While results split among a number of demographic lines, partisanship is one of the most prominent divides: Voters who backed President Joe Biden are more than twice as likely as those who supported former President Donald Trump to say they plan to be vaccinated.

Gauging Americans’ precise willingness to take a vaccine is a tricky prospect. Pinpointing a number would require survey respondents to unerringly predict their hypothetical future behavior, something that’s unlikely to happen. Past polls have also shown significant variation based on the sort of response options people are given to pick from. In the Kaiser Family Foundation’s polling, for instance, many Americans say they’re still planning to “wait and see” how the vaccine is working, but only 20% say either that they’d outright refuse to be vaccinated, or that they’d do so only if required.

In the meantime, few Americans are expecting a rapid end to the pandemic. About two-thirds of the public expects the coronavirus outbreak to have a lasting effect on the U.S., the HuffPost/YouGov poll finds, with just 16% believing things will soon go back to normal. Only 22% say they’re currently “living as normally as possible,” with most respondents either trying to stay home as much as possible, or taking precautions when they go out.

Most favor at least some continuing restrictions where they live, although few want to see a complete lockdown. Just 13% think all nonessential businesses and activities in their area should be shut down; 19% say there should be no restrictions at all. Instead, a majority say that a few places (25%) or most but not all (30%) should be allowed to reopen.

A 41% plurality say that there are about the right level of restrictions in their area, compared to 23% who say there are too many, and one-quarter who say there aren’t enough.

Support for masking remains broad, though not unanimous. A 71% majority say that, generally speaking, people should wear face masks when in public around others, compared to 17% who say they shouldn’t. Most — 63% — deciding whether to wear a mask a matter of public health, with only 27% saying it’s more of a personal choice.

Biden continues to see positive ratings for his handling of coronavirus-related issues: 52% approve of the job he’s done so far, with 34% disapproving. Trust in the government’s response more generally has also rebounded somewhat under the new administration: 43% now approve of the way the U.S. is handling coronavirus issue, with 39% disapproving. Last year, a majority disapproved.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Feb. 5-7 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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