In 2019, the World Health Organization included “vaccine hesitancy” — “the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines” in its top ten threats to global health.

After a measles outbreak last year, how did public opinion shift, if at all?

CivicScience relaunched the same surveys to see if a shift existed. The good news for health organizations, providers, and the like is: comfort level in vaccines, specifically those who are “very comfortable” with them, has increased since last year.

Sixty-nine percent of U.S. adults say they are very comfortable with vaccinations, which was at 65% in early 2019.

It looks like younger people’s minds have changed a bit about vaccines, with a higher proportion of younger generations describing their comfort level with vaccinations as “very comfortable” this year as compared to last.

What’s mostly flat, however, is the support for mandatory vaccinations (or any, really). The data show an uptick of one percentage point from 2019 to 2020 in support for mandatory vaccines, as well as a two-percentage point increase in elective vaccine support, so statistically speaking, there’s no real change.

We see the same thing when it comes to support behind vaccinating infants and children.

In a survey of just over 1,800 that ran in January 2020, 94% of U.S. adults think infants and children should be vaccinated (this was at 93% last year, so no statistically significant change). 

The data still show that younger people are less keen on vaccinating infants and children than older age groups. Perhaps this is due to life-stage, and will only change with time.

Overall, it appears public comfort level of vaccinations may only be on the rise, though the small portion of Americans who don’t support infant and child vaccines is stuck at around 6%.