In perhaps the most in-depth polling on the topic of mRNA vaccines, a new nationwide poll of 1,000 U.S. adults, conducted by John Zogby Strategies, continues to show a large portion of the public has concerns over mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.

When asked whether they’ll take the first-time mRNA vaccine, a total of 55% prefer to either “wait and see if it negatively affects other people who get it” (39%) or “don’t want to take this new mRNA COVID-19 vaccine” (16%). Thirty percent report they “will take the mRNA vaccine as soon as it is available.”

Looking more closely at those choosing not to get the vaccine: 67% are fearful of side effects. A similar October 2020 poll showed that 59% were afraid of side effects, a growth of 8% points.  In this same group, 39% are concerned because vaccine makers have liability protection.

These numbers show millions of Americans are afraid or uncertain about future effects of this next-generation vaccine,” Pollster Jeremy Zogby said. “How will the CDC and FDA deal with this deeply rooted sentiment? In any event, they’ll have to deal with the reality that fear/hesitancy is intense.”

In other findings:

  • African-Americans, those under 40, and parents of children under 17 consistently report the highest levels of concern surrounding the vaccine.
  • When asked if respondents support COVID-19 vaccine mandates in their state, 45% support vs. 40% oppose.
  •  On a federal mandate, 44% support vs. 42% oppose.
  •  36% of respondents agree that “the short and long-term effects of mRNA vaccines are largely unknown and could cause irreversible harm…”
  • 34% report that the vaccine “will produce positive results for humankind in the near and long-term future.”
  • 41% of participants agree the COVID-19 vaccine “makes me feel worried because it is being rushed…and needs a lot more testing.”
  • 39% say the vaccine “makes me feel like safety is around the corner.”
  • 35% oppose their employer requiring the mRNA vaccine, and nearly half (49%) of this same group say they would seek exemption.

The nationwide online poll was conducted on Dec. 14. The overall margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.