HPU Poll: North Carolinians Uncertain About Taking COVID-19 Vaccine

Dec 03rd, 2020

HPU Poll: North Carolinians Uncertain About Taking COVID-19 Vaccine

A majority of North Carolinians say they feel the worst is yet to come from the coronavirus pandemic.


HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 3, 2020 – A High Point University Poll finds North Carolina residents are somewhat uncertain about taking a COVID-19 vaccine if one were developed sometime in the next year. 

Respondents are split between those who say they did intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if one were developed within the next 12 months (42%), those who do not intend to receive such a vaccine (31%) and more than one-quarter (27%) who are unsure or do not offer an answer. This is compared to an October HPU Poll that reported 37% of registered voters who said they did intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if one were developed this year. In that same poll, 36% said they did not intend to receive such a vaccine.

These North Carolinians respond similarly when asked if they would take a COVID-19 vaccine developed in the next six months with 38% saying they would take the vaccine, 34% saying they would not take such a vaccine, and 27% who say they are unsure whether they would take it or not.

Meanwhile, 52% of North Carolinians say they had a seasonal influenza vaccine last year, while 44% say they did not.

When asked if they intend to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine this year, 25% say they already have received it. Of that same data, 30% of North Carolinians say they intend to get the flu vaccine, and 35% say they will not be vaccinated against flu. Another 10% of respondents say they are unsure whether they will be vaccinated against flu or not this year.

North Carolina residents are relatively well-informed about the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. More than nine out of 10 of these respondents (94%) say they are aware that a vaccine is being developed. Only 6% say they are unaware of the vaccine development.

A majority of North Carolinians (53%) say they feel the worst is yet to come from the coronavirus pandemic, while just less than one quarter (23%) say the worst is behind us.  Another 24% of North Carolinians are unsure whether the worst is yet to come here in the United States or the worst is behind us. 

North Carolinians are somewhat divided about whether the U.S. will ultimately go too far or not far enough in placing limits on Americans in responding to the coronavirus. Nearly half (48%) of respondents say the U.S. will not go far enough in limiting the activities and movement of Americans while about one-third (33%) say the U.S. will go too far.

“The speed with which vaccines have been developed for COVID-19 is unprecedented, and it is incredible that the FDA is close to approving two vaccines in the coming weeks,” says Dr. Jordan Smith, assistant professor and co-curricular coordinator in HPU’s Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy. “If everything goes according to plan, we could see most of the country be able to receive the vaccine by the middle of 2021. In the meantime, it is very important that we continue to wear masks and adhere to physical distancing guidelines to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed over the coming months. This is a hopeful step in the right direction, but we have to remain vigilant to keep COVID-19 at bay.”

“Even though a majority of respondents on the latest HPU Poll told us that they feel the worst is yet to come from the coronavirus, almost two-thirds of these North Carolinians said that they either would not take a vaccine or are unsure if they would, if one was developed in the next 6 months,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Survey Research Center and adjunct instructor.

All adults – COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness (November 2020)

Are you aware that a COVID-19 vaccine is in development?

Yes – 94%

No – 6%

(All adult North Carolina resident online sample, surveyed Nov. 17 – 21, 2020, n = 1000 and credibility interval of +/- 3.2%)

All adults – Flu Shot Last Year (November 2020)

Did you receive the seasonal influenza vaccine last year?

Yes – 52%

No – 44%

Unsure – 4%

(All adult North Carolina resident online sample, surveyed Nov. 17 – 21, 2020, n = 1000 and credibility interval of +/- 3.2%)

All adults – Flu Shot This Year (November 2020)

Do you intend to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine this year?

Yes – 30%

No – 35%

Already received – 25%

Unsure – 10%

(All adult North Carolina resident online sample, surveyed Nov. 17 – 21, 2020, n = 1000 and credibility interval of +/- 3.2%)

All adults – Intent to Take COVID-19 Vaccine Next 12 Months (November 2020)

Do you intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine should one become available in the next 12 months?

Yes – 42%

No – 31%

Unsure – 27%

(All adult North Carolina resident online sample, surveyed Nov. 17 – 21, 2020, n = 1000 and credibility interval of +/- 3.2%)

All adults – Intent to Take COVID-19 Vaccine Next 6 Months (November 2020)

Do you intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine should one become available in the next 6 months?

Yes – 38%

No – 34%

Unsure – 27%

(All adult North Carolina resident online sample, surveyed Nov. 17 – 21, 2020, n = 1000 and credibility interval of +/- 3.2%)

All adults – COVID-19 Worst is Behind Us or Yet to Come (November 2020)

Which of the following best describes your feelings about the coronavirus in the United States?

The worst is behind us – 23%

The worst is yet to come – 53%

Unsure – 24%

(All adult North Carolina resident online sample, surveyed Nov. 17 – 21, 2020, n = 1000 and credibility interval of +/- 3.2%)

All adults – US Will Go Too Far or Not Far Enough Responding to COVID-19 (November 2020)

Which worries you more about responding to the coronavirus—that the United States will not go far enough in limiting the activities and movement of Americans, or that the United States will go too far in limiting the activities and movement of Americans?

The U.S. will not go far enough – 48%

The U.S. will go too far – 33%

Unsure – 19%

(All adult North Carolina resident online sample, surveyed Nov. 17 – 21, 2020, n = 1000 and credibility interval of +/- 3.2%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Nov. 17 – 21, 2020 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 1000 adults interviewed online. The Survey Research Center contracted with Lucid (https://luc.id/)  to acquire this sample, and fielded the online survey using its Qualtrics platform. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, so their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classical margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.1 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.06 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education level based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/files/2020/12/77memoAU.pdf

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.