Just over half of construction workers willing to get vaccinated

By Jenny LescohierFebruary 17, 2021

U.S. construction workers are less likely to want a Covid-19 vaccine than other professions, according to market research firm Morning Consult.

Reports said 53% of construction employees claimed they would have a vaccine if offered, whereas the average of willing working adults is 56%.

A total of 16,970 workers were questioned across 17 surveys between October 2020 to January 2021. Morning Consult said the findings have a 1% margin of error.

Of those surveyed, 77% of those working in higher education expressed a willingness to be vaccinated, while the least willing of all were food and beverage workers, at 47%.

The survey found that essential workers in fields such as construction, retail and leisure were less likely than workers in other sectors to want the shot.

Ironically, retail workers and those in the food and beverage and leisure and hospitality industries were also more likely than those in other fields to say Covid-19 poses a severe health risk either in their community or in the United States, and to say Covid-19 will affect their jobs. Two in three retail and food and beverage workers said the virus is a severe risk in the country, for example, compared to 55% of those working in technology and 48% of those in insurance.

With regard to vaccination, Liz Royal, Service Employees International Union’s head, said: “We had a certain percentage that were like, ‘Yes, immediately, let’s do this,’ and then a lot that were saying, ‘I want to wait and see, this feels very rushed to me.’”

Essential workers unable to work from home have risked their lives to earn a living over the past year, with food and agriculture workers, those in transportation or logistics, facilities workers and manufacturing employees all seeing higher rates of excess mortality during the pandemic, according to one California study. Low-wage workers are also less likely to have access to paid sick leave.

Industry isn’t the sole predictor of whether someone will want a Covid-19 vaccine, though, and it overlaps with other groups that tend to show lower vaccine acceptance. In Morning Consult’s weekly coronavirus survey conducted Jan. 28-31, 61% of adults said they’d get a Covid-19 vaccine, with lower rates among women, those without a college education and people living in rural areas. Black and Hispanic adults were also less likely to say they’d get vaccinated.

Workplaces may end up playing an important role in getting people vaccinated. In December, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency focused on workplace discrimination, said employers could make Covid-19 shots mandatory for their workers. But previous Morning Consult polling indicates just 49% of the public thinks essential workers should be required to get vaccinated in order to return to their jobs.

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