The COVID States Project Survey of U.S. Pandemic Opinions

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The COVID States Project is a nationwide, 50-state survey of opinions related to the COVID-19 pandemic that has been in the field regularly since March, 2020. It is run by a multi-university collaboration including Harvard Kennedy School, Northeastern University, Rutgers University, Harvard Medical School, and Northwestern University. The Kennedy School’s Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications Matthew Baum, whose research work is based at the Shorenstein Center, is one of the lead researchers on the project.

See below for reports from the survey project:

The Decision to Not Get Vaccinated, from the Perspective of the Unvaccinated – September 2021
What are the primary reasons for the choice to not get vaccinated (yet), from the perspective of those not getting vaccinated? In order to get at this critical issue, we included closed and open-ended survey questions for the two waves of our survey conducted April-July. We focus on 6 categories of answers that people might provide: life constraints, perception of benefit, perception of risk, uncertainty regarding the risks the vaccine poses, lack of trust in institutions, and fear of needles.

COVID-19 Vaccine Attitudes Among Healthcare Workers – August 2021
This report is a sequel to our February and March reports on attitudes and vaccination rates of healthcare workers, including vaccine resistance, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine access, and vaccine refusal.

Parental Concerns About COVID-19 Vaccines – August 2021
What are parents’ top concerns about COVID-19 vaccinations for their children? Do these concerns vary based on a parent’s partisanship, gender, age, race, income, education, or place of residence? In this report, we examine the most prevalent major concerns for parents by demographic groups to better understand the various sources of vaccine hesitancy among parents.

Vaccine Misinformation: From Uncertainty to Resistance – August 2021
How prevalent is the public’s belief in vaccine misinformation? Is that belief associated with vaccine resistance? Are some social groups more susceptible to it than others? This report focuses on these questions, exploring misinformation beliefs across social groups and their connection with vaccine attitudes. 

What Americans think about people who are not vaccinated – August 2021
In this report, we evaluate how people feel about those who are vaccinated and those who are not using a “feeling thermometer.” Our analyses examine how feelings expressed by the respondents are linked to factors such as partisanship, education, gender, age, income, place of residence and personal vaccination status, among others.

High public support for mandating vaccines – July 2021
As the remaining unvaccinated population becomes increasingly difficult to reach, persistent questions emerge regarding whether vaccines should be mandatory in some or all circumstances. In this report, we update our assessment of public support for vaccine mandates, both nationally and across the 50 states, based on our June/July survey wave.

Social media news consumption and COVID-19 vaccination rates – July 2021
Earlier this month, we witnessed a vigorous back and forth between the White House and Facebook regarding the role of the company in circulating health misinformation. In this report, we examine the relationship between Facebook news consumption and vaccine hesitancy. 

Vaccine Resistance Among Parents – July 2021
With school just around the corner in many states, how do Americans feel about requiring COVID-19 vaccination for in-person school attendance? And how do parents feel about vaccinating their kids? Since our last two reports on parents’ vaccination attitudes in March and May, the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children 12 and older, and over two-thirds of adults are at least partially vaccinated as of July 2021. Yet, while attitudes towards child vaccination have become more positive, the trend has been uneven across parents of different gender and age.

Social Isolation during the COVID-19 Pandemic – July 2021
COVID-19 is transmitted through physical proximity; as a result, reducing proximity has been the major preventative measure used against the pandemic until the recent introduction of vaccines. Has social isolation in the US increased during the pandemic? In this report, we examine trends in social support (the resources and help that people can mobilize through their social networks) and social isolation (when individuals have few or no relationships through which they can mobilize resources and help).

Mental Health in the United States – May 2021
With rapid progress toward vaccination in the United States along with falling COVID-19 case rates and a reopening economy, federal and state leaders speak optimistically about a return to normalcy this summer. But as cases diminish, have the unprecedented rates of depression and anxiety documented in our reports, and in other US surveys, also begun to normalize?

Public Support for Vaccine Passports – May 2021
Americans appear to generally support vaccine mandates issued by local, state, and federal governments, but they appear to be less comfortable with such mandates being imposed by businesses in the form of “Vaccine Passports.” Overall, support for VP requirements is higher when presented as a voluntary option that businesses would be allowed to adopt, rather than as a requirement that businesses must adopt.

Public Support for Vaccine Requirements – May 2021
As more Americans are being vaccinated, politicians, institutional leaders, and individual members of the public are debating in what contexts vaccine requirements are appropriate and who should be allowed to set the rules. This report explores public support for such requirements in the aggregate and broken out by demographic subgroups of the population, as well as at the state level.

Trajectory of Health-Related Behaviors in California – May 2021
While, on average, adherence to health and safety guidelines has slightly decreased since the spring, spikes in caseloads near the end of 2020 may have contributed to higher rates of social distancing, safer behaviors outside of the home, and stricter following of public health recommendations in California. Our survey data suggest that since the start of the new year, as more Californians have been getting vaccinated, they have begun to relax some of their adherence to social distancing and other public health recommendations.

Update on the Johnson & Johnson Pause – May 2021
We evaluate whether the temporary pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 13 negatively affected vaccine attitudes. We find no evidence that the pause affected vaccine intentions. However, the rapid rate of vaccinations has largely exhausted the number of vaccine enthusiastic people, likely driving the current slow down in vaccination rates.

Prospects for Vaccinating America’s Youth – May 2021
With Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine soon to be available to 12-15-year-olds, how prepared are Americans to vaccinate their children? And do they support requiring that children be vaccinated before returning to in-person school? In this report, we examine three aspects of childhood vaccinations: parents’ resistance to vaccinating their children, support among all adults for making vaccinations a requirement in schools, and attitudes towards vaccination among youth.

Assessing the Impact of the Pause in Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Use on COVID-19 Vaccination Intent – April 2021
On April 13, 2021, the FDA and CDC recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, following reports of a rare type of blood clot emerging in a small number of individuals following the use of the vaccine. In this report, we evaluate the likely impact of the pause on vaccine resistance. We do this through two types of analyses: the first analysis compares responses of individuals who participated in the survey before the pause to those who participated after the pause; the second involved re-interviewing a subset of respondents who had participated in our survey before April 13th and indicated that they were not yet vaccinated.

Additional Reports from March and February include:

Vaccine Hesitancy Among Parents vs Non-Parents – March 2021
Healthcare Worker Opinions About the COVID-19 Vaccine vs General Population – March 2021
State-by-State & Federal Executive Approval Rates for COVID-19 Response – March 2021
COVID-19 Rates and Attitudes Among Americans – March 2021
Trajectory of Health-Related Behaviors in Massachusetts – March 2021
Trajectory of Health-Related Behaviors in New Jersey – February 2021
Trajectory of Health-Related Behaviors in New York – February 2021

Visit to see all reports from the project.