Coronavirus

Support for COVID-19 vaccine mandate higher in Mass. than anywhere in U.S., survey finds

Overall, 64 percent of Americans support a vaccine requirement.

A health care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Boston Medical Center. Adam Glanzman / Bloomberg

Would you approve of the government requiring people to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Apparently in Massachusetts, most people would answer, yes.

A new survey found that 81.1 percent of respondents in Massachusetts would approve of such a mandate — a higher percentage of people than anywhere else in the United States.

The study, conducted by The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States — a multi-institutional project that includes Harvard University and Northeastern University — surveyed over 20,000 people across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., between June 9 and July 7.

The survey, published on July 30, found that nationally, support for the government requiring people to be vaccinated is “very strong, ranging from 61 percent to 70 percent, depending on the specific type of mandate.”

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No government vaccine requirement for citizens currently exists, although employers, including the federal government, have rolled out new vaccination rules for employees in recent weeks as virus cases swell due to the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19. Meanwhile, some Boston businesses are requiring customers and patrons to display proof of vaccination as they enter.

Overall, 64 percent of Americans support a vaccine mandate, according to the study, while 70 percent support requiring a vaccine in order to board an airplane.

Additionally, 61 percent of survey respondents supported requiring children to get a vaccine in order to be allowed in school, and 66 percent backed requiring college students to be vaccinated to attend classes.

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“Public support for such mandates has increased since April/May, both overall and in specific circumstances, like for getting on an airplane and returning to school or a university,” the consortium wrote in its report. “These over-time increases in support emerge across nearly all partisan and demographic subgroups we investigated.”

In Massachusetts, 82.2 percent of survey respondents supported requiring passengers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order to fly on an airplane, while 76.6 percent backed mandating vaccines for children to be allowed in schools and 82.3 percent support requiring the shots for college students so they may return to school, too. (The margin of error was 6.4 percent.)

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As of July 30, 4,356,202 people in Massachusetts were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the state Department of Public Health.

While the survey found that a majority of residents in nearly every state support the government requiring a COVID-19 vaccine, support was also the strongest in Washington, D.C., with 80.5 percent of those surveyed backing the idea, and in New York, with 76.8 percent in support.

Wyoming, with 45.7 percent; South Dakota, with 49.5 percent; and North Dakota, with 49.8 percent, were the only states with less than 50 percent of residents supporting a mandate.

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