Side effects, government mistrust, necessity: There are many reasons why millions of Americans have chosen not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Our team of analysts looked at the latest data on vaccine hesitancy to find the main reasons why people aren’t getting vaccinated.

Key findings:

  • Nationwide, 57% (54% in early August) of people say concerns over side effects are keeping them from getting the vaccine.
  • The number of people who are unvaccinated because they don’t trust the Covid-19 vaccine is at 44%.
  • The number of people who say they won’t get the vaccine because they don’t trust the government is now at 40%, up from 28% in early August.
  • Nearly 21% of people don’t think COVID-19 is a threat.
  • At 17%, people without health coverage have one of the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy.

In West Virginia, 70% of unvaccinated people are worried about side effects. Nearly 51% of unvaccinated California residents are waiting to see if the vaccine is safe. And in Kansas, 54% of unvaccinated people say they don’t trust the government. The percentages vary in each state but our team of analysts found there are five main reasons why people aren’t getting vaccinated:

  • They don’t believe they need it
  • They’re waiting to see if it’s safe
  • They don’t trust the COVID-19 vaccine
  • They don’t trust the government

Respondents were allowed to choose multiple reasons, so the percentages in the table below won’t add up to 100%.

Reasons for vaccine hesitancy by state & change over last week
State % Concerned about possible side effects % don’t believe I need a vaccine % plan to wait and see if it's safe % who don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines % who don’t trust the government % who don't think covid is a threat
United States 57%
↑1%
30%
↑2%
39%
↑2%
44%
↓1%
40%
↑2%
21%
~
Alabama 67%
↑15%
35%
↑22%
41%
↑10%
50%
↑5%
44%
↑10%
25%
↑11%
Alaska 64%
↑11%
39%
↑11%
40%
↑3%
51%
~
34%
↓10%
29%
↑4%
Arizona 54%
↓2%
32%
~
39%
↑5%
38%
↓12%
41%
↓6%
29%
↓2%
Arkansas 57%
↓2%
13%
↓18%
30%
↓13%
48%
↑2%
35%
↓3%
15%
↓11%
California 63%
↑2%
38%
↑12%
51%
↑11%
52%
↑12%
47%
↑13%
29%
↑13%
Colorado 46%
↓17%
30%
↓6%
34%
↓2%
38%
↓9%
32%
↓21%
30%
↓4%
Connecticut 52%
↓11%
31%
↑2%
42%
↑5%
43%
↓4%
25%
↓12%
13%
↓18%
Delaware 51%
↑1%
20%
↓3%
30%
↓1%
40%
↑4%
42%
↑20%
26%
↑17%
Florida 50%
↓4%
25%
~
35%
↓9%
43%
↓7%
30%
↓8%
10%
↓9%
Georgia 53%
↓8%
19%
↓11%
42%
↑11%
43%
↑1%
40%
↑8%
15%
↓8%
Hawaii 69%
↑17%
27%
↓1%
40%
↑9%
44%
↓5%
40%
↑3%
13%
↓1%
Idaho 56%
↑2%
40%
↑15%
40%
↓4%
41%
↑2%
34%
↑3%
26%
↓4%
Illinois 57%
↓7%
23%
↓6%
40%
↑6%
34%
↓6%
33%
↓8%
13%
↓8%
Indiana 59%
↑3%
32%
↓3%
47%
↑19%
46%
↑1%
34%
↓2%
28%
↑4%
Iowa 58%
↓3%
40%
↑4%
37%
↑3%
50%
↑1%
51%
↑5%
28%
↓5%
Kansas 54%
↓15%
34%
↓5%
32%
↓10%
53%
↑5%
54%
↑11%
28%
↓5%
Kentucky 53%
↓14%
31%
↑7%
29%
↓17%
44%
↓10%
53%
↑9%
23%
↑8%
Louisiana 55%
~
31%
↓1%
34%
↓9%
54%
↑2%
45%
↑12%
19%
↑5%
Maine 51%
↑3%
37%
↑3%
29%
↑3%
38%
↓8%
44%
↑9%
24%
↓3%
Maryland 43%
↑1%
21%
↓4%
39%
↓10%
55%
↑28%
41%
↑10%
17%
↓1%
Massachusetts 51%
↓3%
19%
↓6%
40%
↑1%
40%
↑1%
34%
↓1%
15%
↓4%
Michigan 55%
↓3%
42%
↑15%
35%
↓5%
39%
↑3%
37%
↑8%
24%
↑7%
Minnesota 51%
↑7%
38%
↑10%
30%
~
47%
↑6%
41%
↑1%
31%
↑10%
Mississippi 63%
↑8%
14%
↓18%
37%
↑12%
30%
↓19%
26%
↓14%
5%
↓8%
Missouri 57%
~
37%
↑16%
38%
↓5%
49%
↑10%
49%
↑12%
21%
↑5%
Montana 58%
↑11%
37%
↑12%
35%
↑9%
50%
↑14%
46%
↑11%
24%
↓5%
Nebraska 64%
↑10%
37%
↑4%
35%
↑3%
51%
↑5%
45%
↑7%
31%
↑4%
Nevada 50%
↓7%
35%
↓3%
36%
↑1%
41%
↓4%
36%
↓6%
15%
↓13%
New Hampshire 58%
↓1%
38%
↑13%
50%
↓4%
56%
↑17%
61%
↑11%
41%
↑18%
New Jersey 53%
↓17%
21%
↓6%
40%
↓1%
35%
↓5%
38%
↑1%
10%
↓4%
New Mexico 66%
↑16%
25%
↑4%
29%
↓9%
37%
↓14%
29%
↓17%
16%
↓16%
New York 54%
↑8%
29%
↑4%
52%
↑15%
40%
↑1%
37%
~
11%
↓9%
North Carolina 57%
↑4%
29%
↓3%
42%
↑14%
42%
↑4%
40%
↓3%
19%
↓11%
North Dakota 64%
↑2%
38%
↑5%
47%
↑5%
49%
↑8%
39%
~
33%
↑2%
Ohio 63%
↑9%
27%
↓2%
48%
↑10%
47%
↓7%
37%
↓12%
22%
↓4%
Oklahoma 64%
↑7%
31%
↓3%
36%
↓4%
41%
↓6%
43%
↓1%
19%
↓6%
Oregon 66%
↑8%
38%
↑1%
48%
↑18%
61%
↑12%
51%
↑1%
30%
↑3%
Pennsylvania 66%
↑18%
40%
↑14%
32%
↓10%
53%
↑11%
48%
↑10%
34%
↑10%
Rhode Island 59%
↓4%
45%
↑23%
28%
↓3%
49%
↑11%
36%
↓5%
18%
↑4%
South Carolina 50%
↓5%
30%
↑10%
23%
↓17%
37%
↓4%
40%
↑12%
12%
↓4%
South Dakota 56%
↓3%
35%
↑6%
38%
↑9%
36%
↓11%
32%
↓13%
34%
↑5%
Tennessee 48%
↓8%
14%
↓6%
37%
~
36%
↓12%
31%
↓2%
20%
↑13%
Texas 54%
↓2%
25%
↓8%
40%
↑9%
34%
↓12%
39%
↑5%
14%
↓2%
Utah 60%
↑4%
31%
~
46%
↑3%
42%
↑2%
39%
↑3%
36%
↑4%
Vermont 52%
↓13%
13%
↓12%
38%
↑11%
44%
↑19%
27%
↓5%
15%
↓10%
Virginia 55%
↓2%
28%
↑9%
33%
↓5%
35%
↓5%
49%
↑17%
20%
↑5%
Washington 57%
↑8%
35%
↑3%
36%
↓4%
45%
↓1%
42%
↑3%
30%
↑7%
West Virginia 70%
↑7%
34%
↑11%
39%
↑4%
57%
↑13%
34%
↓11%
23%
↑1%
Wisconsin 52%
↓3%
38%
↑6%
30%
↓5%
52%
↑2%
42%
↓3%
25%
↑1%
Wyoming 61%
↑6%
29%
↑3%
37%
↓7%
43%
↓2%
37%
↑8%
23%
↑2%
Note: If different, previous week’s results are shown with an arrow indicating directional change.

The coronavirus vaccine is available free of charge but we found that people without insurance are nearly twice as likely to not get the vaccine. Nearly 20% of people without healthcare coverage are vaccine hesitant. This is extremely concerning given the high cost of healthcare.

Vaccine Hesitancy by Healthcare Coverage  

Vaccine hesitancy by demographics

Our analysts also found that the reasons for vaccine hesitancy vary across demographics. Men are more hesitant to get the vaccine than women. Older populations are more likely to get vaccinated. And white communities have higher rates of vaccine hesitancy than most communities of color.

Vaccine hesitancy by age
Age Vaccine hesitancy
18-24 16%
25-39 15%
40-54 12%
55-64 8%
65+ 4%
Vaccine hesitancy by race
Race Vaccine hesitancy
Black 11%
White 11%
Asian 2%
Latino 8%
Vaccine hesitancy by gender
Gender Vaccine hesitancy
Female 9%
Male 12%
Vaccine hesitancy by education level
Education level Vaccine hesitancy
Less than high school 15%
High School or GED 14%
Some College/Associates degree 11%
Bachelors Degree or higher 5%

After months of decline, the number of coronavirus cases is steadily increasing. The point of this study isn’t to discuss the veracity behind someone’s reasons for not getting the vaccine but to highlight the main reasons why people across the country are hesitant to get vaccinated. It is our hope that through open and honest conversation in the media and among government and elected officials, our society will be able to provide accurate information and reduce the rising number of coronavirus cases.

Methodology:

To find the main reasons why people aren’t getting vaccinated, we looked into Household Pulse Survey vaccine hesitancy data for all 50 states. The response percentage for each reason was relative to the total number of respondents for each state, so the percentages don’t add up to 100%. Additionally, we compiled vaccine hesitancy data on demographics. The rate of unvaccinated was taken from the United States Census Bureau Survey on Explore COVID Vaccine Attitudes.