Poll: Kentuckians split on whether vaccines should be required for students, employees

Posted at 10:51 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 11:55:54-04

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentuckians are split when it comes to whether COVID-19 vaccines should be required for employees and students to return to in-person work and school, according to a poll by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Of the more than 800 Kentuckians polled, 50% said they thought it was a bad idea for schools to require children to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to school, compared to 47% who thought it was a good idea.

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Democrats overwhelmingly supported required vaccines for students, with 68% in favor of the idea, whereas 70% of Republicans were opposed.

“It’s expected for parents to have lots of questions and be concerned about their child’s health,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “We encourage you to talk with your child’s pediatrician, your doctor, pharmacist or local health department to get the facts about what the vaccine means for your teen. And, talk to your teenager about what they want to do.”

When it comes to returning to work, 52% of Kentuckians were in favor of businesses requiring employees to get a vaccination before returning to work, while 44% were opposed.

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Of those surveyed, 74% of Democrats were in favor of return-to-work vaccinations, compared to just 35% of Republicans.

“We still have a lot of ground to cover to help people become more comfortable with the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Allison Adams, vice president for policy, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “It’s up to us all, from health care providers to family and friends, we need to make sure that family members, coworkers, and neighbors are reading information from reliable sources so that they may make an informed decision for themselves and their family.”

The Foundation has compiled a number of resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kentucky health leaders here.

The Foundation’s Vaccines in Kentucky poll showed more than 70 percent of Kentuckian adults intended to or had already taken the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, half of those who did not intend to get a vaccine said they were open to changing their minds with more information and time.

The poll also showed that 95 percent of Kentucky adults trust their physician or health care provider a great deal or fair amount when it comes to getting information about vaccines. Other highly trusted messengers include a person’s pharmacist and local health department leaders.

The Vaccines in Kentucky – The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Poll was conducted from Feb. 11 to March 12, 2021, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. More than 800 adults from throughout Kentucky were polled by telephone. The poll includes a +/- 3.5 percent margin of error. It was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Read the full brief here.