A new poll shows the majority of Americans support COVID-19 vaccine mandates for certain workplaces and crowded events.
The poll, conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that 56% of its nearly 2,000 respondents were strongly or somewhat in favor of making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for certain professions, and activities like travel, concerts, and going to the movies.
The highest percentage of survey takers said they were in favor of requiring healthcare and hospital workers to get doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 19% of respondents opposed making the same requirement. Survey participants were also mostly in favor of mandating vaccines for other professions that require interaction with the public, as well as military and government officials.
The survey also found that a little of half of respondents were in favor of making vaccines required to enter a restaurant or bar, while 57% were in favor of requiring shots to fly.
The poll comes as states around the country battle rising COVID-19 cases, limited hospital beds, and growing hospitalization rates among children. Experts point to the COVID-19 Delta variant for the latest surge in new cases.
To impose such a mandate equitably, officials would need to address inequality in vaccine access for marginalized groups. Early data showed Black Americans were getting vaccinated at slower rates in part due to a lack of access. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccine misinformation has specifically targeted Black communities, relying on the nation's history of medical racism to fuel the message. Churches, barbershops, and descendants of the infamous Tuskegee Study have all banded together to get more Black Americans vaccinated in the wake of targeted misinformation campaigns.
Some cities, including NYC and New Orleans have already instituted vaccination proof requirements for public spaces to try and decrease the spread of the virus. One Texas school district updated its dress code to bypass Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates.
According to CDC data, approximately 60 percent of eligible Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.