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Poll: Democrats and independents are glad they got Covid vaccines. Most Republicans regret it.

The NBC News poll shows well over half of Republicans who got Covid shots say it was not worth it. Majorities of Democrats and independents are happy they did.
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Just 36% of registered Republican voters who got a Covid-19 vaccine say it was worth it, while 57% say it was not, according to new NBC News polling.

The survey results highlight deep partisan divisions about how Americans view the vaccines — as public health officials recommend Americans get new booster shots this fall. 

While more than half of Republicans who received a Covid-19 vaccine believe it wasn’t worth it, that sentiment was shared by just 29% of independents and 5% of Democrats who say they are vaccinated. 

Of those who say they got a vaccine, 67% of independents and 90% of Democrats say the decision was worth it. Overall, 69% of vaccinated respondents said it was worth it.

As has been the case in previous polls, Democrats and independents remain more likely to say they’ve gotten a vaccine than Republicans — 94% of Democrats, 75% of independents and 60% of Republicans. 

A health worker administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in Stamford, Conn., on March 14, 2021.
A health worker administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in Stamford, Conn., on March 14, 2021.John Moore / Getty Images file

Republicans who identify themselves with former President Donald Trump (they primarily support Trump over the institutional Republican Party or consider themselves a supporter of the “MAGA Movement”) are less likely to say they’ve been vaccinated than other Republicans. 

The significant partisan differences about both vaccination status and satisfaction comes as prominent Republicans, particularly presidential hopefuls, continue to either cast doubt on the vaccines or question whether they will ever receive them or get booster shots. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is recommending that Floridians under 65 years old not get the new Covid boosters, a stance that goes against the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Trump’s campaign put out a statement in May blasting DeSantis, who is also running for the GOP presidential nomination, for having “personally oversaw mass vaccinations” — of a vaccine developed under Trump’s own administration. 

And businessman and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said in August that “had I had the facts that I do now, as a young, thankfully healthy male, I would not have chosen to get vaccinated.”

Overall, 76% of registered voters say they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that 79.1% of Americans at least 18 years old have completed their primary vaccine series). 

NBC News asked some respondents to elaborate in their own words on why they were either satisfied or dissatisfied with their choice about vaccination, with a handful of common themes emerging. 

Those who said getting the vaccines was worth it largely point to their personal experiences with Covid after vaccination, saying they believe their prognoses could have been worse but for their decisions. 

“Immunization has been helping society for several years, and just, like, the flu and Covid are something that we can protect ourselves from,” said a Hispanic woman from Rhode Island who is 18 to 24 years old.

“It helped end the lockdown, get out as fast as possible. We were able to go out as soon as we got it, and it helped get life back to normal.”

According to data cited by the CDC, the risk of dying from Covid was three to nine times higher for unvaccinated adults than vaccinated adults in Aug. 2022, with the rate varying across different age groups.

Those who regretted their decision said they felt forced to get the shot, shared frustrations that they still caught Covid despite being vaccinated, raised conspiracy theories related to the vaccines or believed they or others suffered serious complications from them. While there have been some links to rare adverse effects like myocarditis after millions of vaccinations, misinformation grossly exaggerating the scope of Covid vaccine side effects has proliferated for years.

“I think it was unnecessary and I felt coerced into doing it. I still got sick and I think it was not necessary,” said a white Republican woman from Pennsylvania who is 65 to 69 years old.

“I don’t like the government telling me what to do about my health,” she said.