One answer seems clear in the polling and in the real world: fear. Fear of getting the virus and of losing freedoms looks like it motivates people to get vaccinated.
Zoom in on the places where cases are the highest: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. With the exception of Florida, all have had some of the lowest vaccination rates since vaccines were made available.
Over the last week, however, all five states rank in the top five for number of people per capita getting vaccinated throughout the entire country.
The correlation here is clear enough, and the polling buffers the idea of a real connection.
When we examine Ipsos’ last two polls more closely, the connection between fear of the virus and likelihood of the unvaccinated getting shots becomes clear enough.
Among those who are extremely or very concerned about the virus, about 39% of the unvaccinated say they’re likely to get the vaccine. This drops to about 30% who are somewhat concerned. It declines to only about 12% with those who are not very concerned about the virus, and a mere 5% of those who are not concerned at all about the vaccine.
Fear, not surprisingly, is a powerful emotion. For those who don’t fear the virus, fear of losing their job may be the answer to getting them vaccinated.
Ipsos showed this past week that 33% of unvaccinated adults said an employer requiring them to get the shot would make them likely to get one. That may seem low, but it was actually the highest rated action of any tested to see if the unvaccinated would likely get a vaccine. The only thing that came close was when respondents were told that they would get a bonus or raise (26%).
According to the Kaiser poll, about half of all adults who are unvaccinated are non-self employed workers.
This means that about one-quarter of all unvaccinated adults in this country would probably become vaccinated with a vaccine mandate at their job. That would be nearly 20 million extra people.
Of course, there will always be people who won’t get vaccinated no matter what. About half of America’s unvaccinated adult population say they’ll never get a vaccine. The key is to convince the other half who aren’t vaccinated yet to get it. Fear does seem to be working with them.