- Over half of respondents expressed concern about the omicron variant.
- 46% of people reported ignoring all COVID variant news.
- 72% of people believed COVID vaccines should be required for all eligible schoolchildren.
- More than 1 in 4 people felt the pandemic will never end.
As we enter year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's hard for many of us to imagine our day-to-day life without masks. While many of us were granted a brief respite as vaccination rates climbed, we dug our masks back out with the emergence of the delta, and now omicron, variant.
To gauge public sentiment on the omicron variant, we surveyed 1,000 people and asked them about their concerns, where masks are necessary, and their thoughts on the vaccine and booster shots. For more than half of those surveyed, omicron was cause for concern, which makes sense with its rapid spread across the U.S.
While roughly 62% of individuals in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, it seems they're more worried about omicron than their unvaccinated counterparts. Nearly 55% of unvaccinated respondents said they're not at all concerned about the omicron variant, even though hospitals are full of unvaccinated patients due to COVID-19. Over half of unvaccinated respondents also opposed wearing masks indoors, with 31% of those individuals saying they'd refuse to don a mask at a public event if asked to do so. This may cause trouble for some, as mask mandates ramp back up in multiple areas of the country.
With COVID fatigue doubly plaguing the nation, it comes as no surprise that it only took 11 days from its discovery for interest in the omicron variant to drop off sharply. Before the holidays, it seems many were worried about other things like their packages showing up on time. But after all the holiday parties and family gatherings, interest managed to spike again—along with the number of cases. With this spike in cases after the fact, it begs the question: Are people still paying attention to news of COVID-19 variants?
While there are many out there who are ignoring news of COVID variants, nearly 72% of those not currently boosted plan to get their booster shot. With this new variant on the rise, how many people remain willing to mask up when they go out?
Roughly 28% of unvaccinated respondents said they wouldn't wear a mask, even at the hospital or around at-risk individuals. With flights getting delayed, sent back, or canceled altogether due to COVID-19, one would think passengers would be ready to comply with regulations in order to have as smooth a flight as possible. However, less than half of unvaccinated respondents would forgo a mask on an airplane. Only 38.5% of unvaccinated individuals said they'd wear a mask at a school, meaning possible exposure of students and teachers to COVID-19. We asked parents about the vaccination status of their children to see how that exposure may affect them.
Due to the recent spike in pediatric cases of COVID-19, it's no wonder 72% of parents believed all eligible children should be required to get the vaccine in order to attend school. Over half of respondents believed this was not only for the health of the individual child, but to protect classmates and teachers from infection as well. While many parents were on board with pediatric vaccinations, they weren't without their concerns. Over half of parents surveyed were worried about possible long-term side effects, 47% worried about their efficacy against variants, and more than 1 in 3 were concerned pediatric vaccines may cause problems down the road.
While headlines may have the feeling of no end in sight for this pandemic, those surveyed were more optimistic: 47.4% believed the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually end, and almost 71% said they'd be willing to get booster shots until that future is realized.
Fatigue and the Future
Two years into the pandemic and two COVID variants later, many have been vaccinated and boosted, but the worry over variants persists. Even though most respondents consider the omicron variant cause for concern, almost half of the respondents still avoid news on variants altogether. With omicron causing a spike in cases of COVID-19 in children, we'll have to wait and see if all eligible youth will be required to get the vaccination before attending school. Looking further into the future, while almost half of those surveyed believed the COVID pandemic will end in time, most will get in line to receive boosters as needed if variants are not eradicated.
While COVID-19 continues to affect the world, experts are recommending wearing a mask regardless of your vaccination status to help protect yourself and others. At Signs.com, we offer an assortment of customizable face masks with antimicrobial treated and breathable fabrics, so you can look and feel your best while keeping those around you safe. Check out www.signs.com/face-masks/ to get started on designing your very own today.
Methodology and Limitations
We administered online surveys to 1,022 individuals in the United States. The average age of our respondents was 39.4 years old. An attention-check question was used to identify and disqualify respondents who failed to read questions in their entirety. Respondents were comprised of 568 men, 446 women, six identifying as nonbinary, and two who chose not to specify a gender.
The number of respondents in each COVID-19 vaccination status category is as follows:
- 130 unvaccinated
- 278 vaccinated and boosted
- 614 vaccinated with 1 or 2 doses of vaccine
There are problems with self-reported surveys, including, but not limited to the following: attribution, telescoping, recency bias, and selective memory.
Fair Use Statement
We are providing these findings on vaccine perspectives freely for all to benefit from. You are welcome to share this information with friends and family for any noncommercial purposes as long as you link back to us when doing so.