Sumary of Poll: Older Americans strongly support COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health workers:
- The data were also collected before the newly announced federal initiative that will lead to vaccination requirements for nearly all health care workers whose employers accept Medicare and Medicaid—estimated at 17 million people.
- Older adults who had already gotten vaccinated—80% of the 2,157-person sample—strongly supported a vaccine requirement for health workers.
- Only 9% of Black older adults opposed a vaccine requirement, compared with 22% of whites and 18% of those of Hispanic background.
- Age did make a difference, with a 20-point gap between respondents over and under age 65. In all, 72% of those aged 65 to 80 said the vaccine should definitely be required, compared with 52% of those aged 50 to 64. The remaining members of both age groups were almost evenly split between probably supporting a requirement and opposing one.
- People over 50 who are currently working were more likely to oppose a requirement for health workers (24%), compared with 17% of those who are retired or not working.
- When the poll team looked at what region of the country respondents live in, the highest percentage of opposition to a requirement was in the Midwest, with 25% saying health care workers should not be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
- At the time of the poll, COVID-19 activity was highest in the South, and 82% of older adults there agreed that vaccination should definitely or probably be required for health workers.
- Even as the federal vaccination requirement takes shape, many health care employers have been considering or implementing vaccination requirements for their staff.