NEW YORK — The coronavirus vaccine has been an incredibly divisive topic, and now it’s even ending friendships. Vaccinated Americans have called it quits with friends who refuse to get the COVID-19 shot, according to a new poll.
A survey of 1,000 Americans – conducted by OnePoll on Sept. 2 – examined why people have ended friendships in the last year and a half. Results show 16 percent of respondents have axed three pals from their lives since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Of those who ended a friendship, 66 percent are vaccinated and 17 percent don’t ever plan to receive the shot. Fourteen percent of vaccinated respondents — about 1 in 7 — say they parted ways with friends who didn’t want to get the vaccine. Even “Friends” and “The Morning Show” star Jennifer Aniston claims she’s ended friendships over vaccination beliefs.
Ugly break-ups in the pandemic era
The poll discovered other reasons friends broke up – whether vaccinated or not – including having different political views (16%), dating or sleeping with an ex (15%), making up rumors about them (12%), and believing someone is a liar (7%).
Similarly, the vast majority of vaccinated people (97%) consider their ex-friends to be “full-blown anti-vaxxers” and say they could never get them to understand the importance of the vaccine. Those respondents also shared why their former friends didn’t want to get vaccinated – from not believing in vaccines to claiming the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t work.
On the other hand, many unvaccinated people say their decision is a personal choice because they’re worried about potential side-effects. Others add they’re healthy and believe they don’t need the vaccine, while some expressed distrust in the vaccine rollout.
Vaccinations get more and more political
The study also looked into how the different political parties view the vaccine as politicization of the pandemic continues to rise. A majority of Democrats (81%) are fully vaccinated, as well as 64 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents, and 41 percent of third-party supporters.
Meanwhile, seven percent of Democrats remain unvaccinated, followed by 27 percent of third-party supporters, 23 percent of Republicans, and one in five Independents.
Surprisingly, four in 10 Democrats (41%) feel society is too critical of unvaccinated people, and over half of Republicans (57%) echo that sentiment. However, 12 percent of Democrats and five percent of Republicans disagree that society is harsh on unvaccinated people.
Overall, six in 10 vaccinated adults feel “very confident” in their decision to get the shot, compared to one in three who feel the same about not getting the vaccine.
As to where people get their information about the vaccine, the top places are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (45%), their doctor or local clinic (42%), medical experts such as their state health commissioner (39%), and the news (31%).
Many Americans also say they do their own research online (26%), and 19 percent turn to social media to get their COVID-19 information.