A survey of Americans into President Biden’s plan to require most workers to be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19 reveals a deep divide: Democrats overwhelmingly support it, while most Republicans are opposites.
With the highly contagious Delta variant resulting in up to 2,000 deaths per day, the poll released Thursday by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that overall, 51% say they approve of the requirement. Biden, 34% disapprove and 14% have no opinion.
About three-quarters of Democrats, but only about a quarter of Republicans, approve. About 6 in 10 Republicans say they disapprove.
The split is familiar: During the outbreak, Democrats and Republicans in many places have also found themselves divided over masks and other precautions.
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“I don’t think the federal government should have a say in whether I should get vaccinated or lose my job or get tested,” said Emilio Rodriguez, a 28-year-old firefighter in Corpus Christi, Texas. . The Republican is not vaccinated.
Retired Democrat and school secretary Sarah Carver, 70, strongly endorses Biden’s tenure. The suburban Cleveland resident said she wants more people vaccinated to protect her 10-year-old grandson, who is too young to get the shot, and her vaccinated husband, who has respiratory problems and Alzheimer’s disease.
“I believe Dr Fauci,” Carver said, referring to Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist. Carver received two doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Sixty-four percent of vaccinated Americans say they approve of the mandate, while 23% disapprove of it. Among unvaccinated Americans, only 14% are in favor, while 67% are against. Most remote employees approve, but in-person employees are roughly evenly divided.
Exactly how the mandate will work is still being defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Some health experts have said weekly testing is a poor substitute for vaccination but a necessary part of policy.
“The tests are used here to make it bothersome” to avoid vaccination, said immunologist Gigi Gronvall, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The choice will be, “You can get your two doses of the vaccine, or this is what you are going to do each week.” ”
The hope, Gronvall said, is that the warrants will force those who have procrastinated to join the 56% of the US population now fully vaccinated.
The choice of testing makes Biden’s workplace tenure more palatable to Cassie Tremant, a 32-year-old volunteer for a wildlife rescue group in Austin, Texas. She’s okay with the warrant as long as people can opt out by getting tested every week. Democrat, she is fully vaccinated. Her grandmother was hospitalized with COVID-19.
“Personally, I would prefer everyone to be vaccinated,” Tremant said. The Biden plan “gives people an option. If they don’t comply, it’s up to them to get tested. I think this is a fair rule.
About two-thirds of Americans say they are at least somewhat worried about themselves or their family members of being infected with the coronavirus, although intense concern has subsided. About 3 in 10 are now very or extremely worried, up from around 4 in 10 in mid-August.
About two-thirds of Americans are at least somewhat confident that COVID-19 vaccines will be effective against viral variants.
Americans remain the most confident in healthcare professionals for vaccine information, largely unchanged from December. About 8 in 10 people trust their doctors and other health care providers at least moderately.
Rodriguez, the Corpus Christi firefighter, said he was wary of government vaccine information because it seemed too rosy to him.
“I haven’t heard anything negative about getting at all,” he said. “Nothing about side effects. It’s’ No, everything is fine. Go ahead and go get it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists common vaccine side effects such as fatigue, muscle pain, fever, chills, and nausea. Serious problems are rare, including heart inflammation which can occur in young men.
If he is subject to a workplace warrant, Rodriguez said, he will see his doctor, whom he trusts.
Public confidence in leading US scientific agencies for vaccine information is also relatively high. About 7 in 10 people trust the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration at least.
“These are the scientists and they know what they’re talking about,” said Carver, a retiree from Ohio. “They are not charlatans like some you see on the Internet.”
In contrast, only about 4 in 10 Americans say they trust the news media at least moderately for information about vaccines; about 6 in 10 have little or no trust in the media.
A majority of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of COVID-19, although his rating is lower than it was in the first six months of his presidency – 57% approve, while 43% disapprove. It’s similar to his grades last month. As late as July, about two-thirds approved Biden’s handling of the pandemic.
Almost half do not trust the president to get information about vaccines. This includes Democrat Tremant, the Austin wildlife rescue volunteer.
“Politicians say really stupid things,” Tremant said. “I would never trust medical advice or the advice of a politician, even if he is my favorite politician in the world.”
The survey of 1,099 adults was conducted between September 23 and September 27 using a sample drawn from the AmeriSpeak probability-based NORC panel, which is designed to be representative of the American population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.