Only 1 in 4 millennials say they’ll get the COVID vaccine right away

The 800-pound, albeit virtual, gorilla in every corporate boardroom is just how fast the U.S. economy will recover and reopen in 2021.

And a lot of that is dependent on the success of looming mass vaccinations: Dr. Anthony Fauci said this month we’d need 75% to 80% of the country to take the vaccine in order to resume normal life by the end of next year.

But will people actually take a COVID-19 vaccine? To find out, Fortune and SurveyMonkey polled 2,247 U.S. adults between November 30 to December 1.  

The majority of Americans don’t plan to take the COVID-19 vaccine right away. Among U.S. adults, 40% say they’d want to take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, our poll finds. While 39% say they’d want to wait a while, and 19% never want to take it. 

Americans over 75 years old (Silent Generation) are the most likely to say they’d take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible at 65%. They’re followed by baby boomers (47%).

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The generation least likely to say they’d take the vaccine right away are millennials. Only 25% of Americans age 24 to 39 would take the vaccine right away.

The age gap suggests that an increased likelihood of becoming ill or succumbing to the virus is strongly correlated with the choice to get the vaccine. But just because most millennials don’t plan to take it right away, doesn’t mean they won’t ever take it. Indeed, 44% of millennials plan to take the vaccine after waiting a while. Only 29% of millennials say they’ll never take it.

We should point out that Gen Zers, age 23 or younger, are far more supportive of getting the vaccine right away: 43% of Gen Zers plan to take it right away, or 18 points higher than millennials. (The gap between Gen Z and millennials is a reminder for business types to not treat these two younger generations as monolithic groups).

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And a political divide does exist, but the gap isn’t massive: Only around one-third of Republicans (31%) and Independents (33%) say they’d take it right away.

Meanwhile, 52% of Democrats would take it right away. Since the onset of the crisis, Democrats have viewed COVID-19 public health measures more favorably. In fact, 93% told Fortune-SurveyMonkey they always wear a mask in public. So their lukewarm support for getting the vaccine right away is a bit of a surprise.

And there are some racial differences. Among white adults, 43% plan to take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. That number is 28% among Black adults, and 41% with Hispanic adults. (We also found that Black adults (89%) are still more likely than white adults (73%) to say they always wear a mask in public). 

The lack of support—across a range of demographics—for getting the vaccine right away tells us public health officials will have their work cut out for them if they want to hit Fauci’s 75% to 80% vaccination threshold next year.

*Methodology: The Fortune-SurveyMonkey poll was conducted among a national sample of 2,247 adults in the U.S. between November 30 to December 1. This survey’s modeled error estimate is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The findings have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography.


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