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Poll Shows Division in Ky. on Requiring Vaccines at Schools, Workplaces

A new poll shows that Kentuckians are divided on whether COVID-19 vaccines should be required for employees or students to return to in-person work and school.

The poll was funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

The poll was February 11 through March 12 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati and surveyed more than 800 adults from across the state by telephone. It has a margin error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

On the question of whether it is a good idea that students be required to have a vaccine before being allowed to attend in-person school, there is a divide based on whether children live in a respondent's household, the poll found. Two-thirds of those living with children thought a school requirement was a bad idea.

Meanwhile, more than half of those without kids at home thought it was a good idea for a school requirement.         

“It’s expected for parents to have lots of questions and be concerned about their child’s health,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the 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.” 

On the business side, political party identification, self-reported health status, and age show differing opinions on whether it’s a good or bad idea for businesses to require employees to get vaccinated before returning to in-person work. 

“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 at the 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’s Vaccines in Kentucky poll showed that more than 70 percent of Kentuckian adults intended to or had already received a COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, half of those who did not intend to get 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.

-Staff report

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