Majority of Virginians against COVID-19 vaccine requirement, 40% unlikely to get one if available today, VCU poll finds


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Sixty-six percent of Virginians are against a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for residents and 40 percent said they don’t plan on getting a no-cost vaccine when it’s available, according to a new poll released Thursday by Virginia Commonwealth University.

The poll, conducted by the Center for Public Policy at the university’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, surveyed 804 adults living in Virginia from Aug. 28 and Sept. 7. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would take a Food and Drug Administration-approved, no-cost vaccine, a similar figure found in a Gallup poll from August.

VCU’s survey also found that 55 percent of state residents don’t feel comfortable having children back in schools for in-person classes, with 42 percent of respondents saying it’s safe to have students return. “The concerns over premature school openings confirms that adequate plans vouchsafing safety have not been shown to the people, particularly the minority communities,” former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder said in a statement.

The poll shows where residents with different political party preferences stand on an FDA-approved vaccine as well, with 59 percent of Democrats very likely or somewhat likely to get the vaccine and 51 percent of Republicans saying they would get one as well.

The gap was evident when it came to schools reopening and mandating a vaccine. Sixty percent of Republicans said they think in-person classes are very or somewhat safe, compared to 77 percent of Democrats who said it’s not too safe or not at all safe to have students back the classroom. The poll found that 53 percent of parents with school-age children felt in-person learning was safe.

No group favored a vaccine mandate, with 80 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats saying a vaccine shouldn’t be required. Independents also don’t want a vaccine requirement, with 67 percent believing it shouldn’t be mandated.

The VCU poll, which was done over the telephone, surveyed 250 residents who identified as Democrats, 201 who identified as Republican and 337 Independents. The survey has an estimated margin of error of 5.17 percentage points for all adults sampled and 6.22 percentage points for likely voters.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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