In early August, CivicScience published a study looking into levels of public support for COVID vaccine mandates for various public activities. Responding in part to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policy requiring people to show proof of vaccination in order to go to the gym, restaurants, and other public spaces, data demonstrated that more than half the population supported such measures.
Nearly a month later, and following the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine, CivicScience decided to take another deep dive into the population’s opinions regarding vaccine mandates. Given that full approval of the Pfizer vaccine seems to have pushed the needle for some vaccine-hesitant people to get the jab, it’s surprising to see that overall support for vaccine mandates across the board has fallen by a few percentage points.
This apparent shift in public support for proof of vaccination in public spaces is interesting, and difficult to explain. Overall comfort in public spaces has only been dropping over the past weeks, and the Delta variant continues to spread among the population, even among the vaccinated. One interesting contradiction, however, is that in some situations, people are becoming less worried about themselves and more worried about the safety of others.
This is most apparent with opinions about vaccine mandates to eat at a restaurant; survey respondents who were concerned about spreading the virus agreed more with requiring the COVID vaccine in order to eat at a restaurant.
A similar, albeit slighter, shift is evident in opinions about mandates for work as well.
In fact, over the course of August, the Gen Pop 18 and older has experienced a jump in concern for spreading the virus to others, while concern about experiencing ill effects themselves has mostly plateaued.
This may imply that as vaccine rates improve, and if the FDA fully approves the other available vaccines, people (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) will become less concerned for their own safety either because they are vaccinated or because they assume that most around them are. In turn, that could lessen the urgency for vaccine mandates to be in place, even as the Delta variant continues to loom.
While not researched in the beginning of August, interesting data from the end of this month has also shown that support and opposition for mandates for students in schools is the highest when compared to all the other activities studied.
It seems that the proportion of the Gen Pop that supports vaccine mandates generally supports them for all public activities and spaces, likewise for those that don’t. And despite the endless reports you may be hearing about parents and state governors refusing to allow schools to enact mask-wearing mandates, well more than half of the population supports vaccine mandates.
When we break it down by parental status, those numbers become even more clear.
However, worthy of note is that parents also make up the largest percentage of those that oppose vaccine mandates in schools.
Meanwhile, those who have been working remotely through the course of the pandemic widely over-index in support for vaccine mandates in schools. Those whose jobs haven’t been impacted by the pandemic, inversely, represent the highest levels of opposition to school vaccine mandates.
Public sentiment around coronavirus vaccines and vaccine mandates continues to be a complex and constantly shifting trend. As the pandemic continues to impact all aspects of society, CivicScience will continue to pulse opinions about the public response to it.