This looks like bad news for the CDC and the Biden Administration, which are desperate to entice more Americans to get vaccinated before international pressure forces the president to give away the entire US stock of vaccines (Biden announced yesterday that the US would send 20MM doses of vaccine that are authorized for emergency use in the US abroad for the first time as pressure from the international community grows).
A recent survey found that half of Americans who don't wear masks say they "definitely won't" get vaccinated, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.Half of non-mask wearers said they would "definitely not" get vaccinated, according to a survey taken the week of March 15.
By comparison, the data, which was leaked to Bloomberg, found that 13% of those who wear a mask some of the time or never said they had gotten vaccinated, while 34% of those who do wear masks all or most of the time said they had been vaccinated. Half of non-mask wearers said they would "definitely not" get vaccinated, versus 7% of those who wear masks regularly.
The findings follow an announcement by the CDC allowing fully vaccinated people to ditch masks in most settings.
President Biden celebrated the decision as offering Americans a stark choice: Either get vaccinated, or wear a mask.
The only problem with this is that many of those who are skeptical of the vaccine also don't wear masks.
One analyst who spoke to Bloomberg said she was surprised by the resistance to the vaccine.
"But I think what stands out is the share that say they definitely won’t get the vaccine among those who say they don’t wear masks," Hamel said in an interview.
What's more, the survey data support what many Americans probably see as common sense - although nobody apparently told the White House or the CDC.
The findings already indicate that people who say they don’t want the vaccine are much less likely to believe that masks are effective. “And so certainly that relationship between the attitudes towards the vaccine and attitudes towards other sorts of protective measures exist, particularly among that group that says they’re just definitely not going to get vaccinated,” she said.
The CDC was widely criticized for spurring confusion with its latest guidance for individuals and businesses, as states are now deciding whether they will follow the CDC guidance or opt to wait.
Some employers are already saying they will require new hires to be vaccinated, although most employers still concede that it would be illegal to require all employees to go out and get the vaccine. Ultimately, however, they might still be forced to rely on the honor system as medical privacy laws might prevent them from asking to see evidence of the shot.
The polling company, KFF, which has been running polling data through its COVID Vaccine Monitor, used data on self-reported masking behavior and people's belief in whether wearing a mask prevents the spread of the vaccine as the basis for these findings.