Unvaccinated Americans Blame Everyone But Themselves—Children, Vaccines And Not Wearing Masks—For Covid Surge, Poll Finds

According to Kaiser Family Foundation polling, most Americans blame vaccine keepers for the rise in coronavirus cases, overcrowded hospitals and rationed medicine. However, very few people who have not been vaccinated feel any responsibility. This is despite the fact that officials seem to hold everyone and everything else responsible for this terrible outbreak.

Poll finds that Americans who have not been vaccinated don't see themselves as being responsible for the U.S. Covid Surge. Getty Images via Anadolu Agency

The Key Facts

According to a poll of 1,519 adults in the United States, nearly 8 out 10 (77%) blame Covid-19 for the rise in cases. The poll was conducted September 13-22. The poll also found that vaccinated adults blamed the increase in cases on people who didn't take enough precautions, such as social distancing and mask wearing (73%), and the infectiousness of Covid-19 (67%), respectively. Only 12% of adults unvaccinated believe that people refusing to get the vaccine are the main reasons for the rise in cases. The majority (58%), however, thinks vaccines are less effective at stopping the spread of Covid-19 (compared to what scientists originally thought). The Kaiser poll found that vaccine holdouts were the most important reason for the high number of cases. This includes children who aren't eligible for vaccination (15%), governments lifting restrictions too quickly (27%), infectiousness of the Delta variant (35%), insufficient precautions (37%), and people bringing Covid-19 into the United States (40%) Divergent views on the cause of the coronavirus outbreak highlight the wide range of opinions between the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated. The majority of holdouts believe that breakthrough infections (66%) and the need for booster shots (71%), are evidence that vaccines don't work. Kaiser found that only 11% thought breakthrough cases meant vaccines weren't working. 19% believed the same about booster shots.


The issue of vaccination has been a highly partisan one throughout the pandemic. Inconsistently, Republicans were less likely to agree to the vaccine and more likely than Democrats to question the effectiveness of the public health measures to end the pandemic. The Kaiser poll again shows that Republicans (32%) were less likely than Democrats (87%) or Independents (54%), to blame people who refuse the vaccine for the high number of cases. They also were more likely to blame tourists and immigrants (55%) compared with 21% and 34% respectively).

Surprising Fact

Although 77% of those vaccinated held the unvaccinated to blame for the increase in cases, only 51% said that they were angry. Only 3% of unvaccinated people said that they were angry at people who have not received the Covid-19 vaccine. Like other opinions about vaccination, the anger is partisan. Only 65% of Democrats felt angry at the unvaccinated while only 16% of Republicans felt that way. Instead, the majority of Republicans (59%) as well as the unvaccinated (56%), expressed anger at the federal government for the current state of the pandemic. This compares to 30% of unvaccinated people and 20% of Democrats.

Important Background

For months, all adults and children have had access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccinations. They are not able to provide 100% protection against Covid-19 but they can prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death, and reduce the risk of developing long-term Covid. Unvaccinated patients account for the majority of hospitalizations, and almost all deaths due to Covid-19. The healthcare system has spent at least $5.7 million in the past three months. A huge increase in demand for the few medications that are licensed in the U.S. to treat Covid-19 has led to nationwide shortages and rationing, with some areas prioritizing supplies for unvaccinated people.

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By the Numbers: Who Refuses Covid VaccinationsAnd Why? (Forbes).

The majority of unvaccinated Americans don't feel responsible for the soaring number of covid cases. A poll suggests that this is what they blame (Forbes).

The Cost of being unvaccinated has risen. Most insurance companies are passing these costs back to patients as covid hospitalizations soar (Forbes).

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