Global Initiatives Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 Press Release

Why are 11% of Israelis still not vaccinated?

Press release: Aug. 16, 2021
Analysis by Yaniv Shlomo, Senior Fellow; Michal Grinstein-Weiss, Director; Daniel Yeshua, Program Manager; and Oren Heller, Postdoctoral Research Associate

A new, nationally representative survey from the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis (SPI) indicates that among the 11% of Israelis who are not vaccinated, 75% do not plan to get vaccinated. The survey was administered by SPI on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, 2021, to 925 individuals over the age of 18.

Arab and Haredi respondents were twice as likely to be unvaccinated as the general population. Nearly one in three respondents (28%) who are not vaccinated reported that they did not get the vaccine because they already had COVID-19 and believe they are immune. This reasoning is especially high among ultra-Orthodox Jews (54%) and Arab society (54%), however, when respondents who already had COVID-19 were eliminated from the results, the differences between the religious groups are reduced, as indicated in Figure 1-3.

Figure 1.

Percentage of unvaccinated respondents according to sector (Graph)

Figure 2.

Unvaccinated populations who did not get the vaccine because they were previously infected by COVID-19 (Graph)

Figure 3.

Unvaccinated populations, excluding those who did not get vaccine because they were previously infected by COVID-19. (Graph)

As demonstrated in Figure 4, the main reasons respondents gave for not getting vaccinated include not knowing enough about the long-term effects of the vaccine (46%) and concerns about its effectiveness (40%). Additionally, 17% of respondents feared the vaccine would affect fertility and 11% of women said they did not vaccinate because they are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.

Figure 4.

Reasons for not receiving the vaccine (graph)
(Click to enlarge)

Additionally, the SPI survey indicates that family and friends influenced vaccination rates among individuals—61% of unvaccinated people reported that their friends and family were not vaccinated either. Though friends and family appear to influence the decision to vaccinate or not, the vaccination rate is higher among people who were not married and didn’t have kids than those who were either married or had kids (Figure 5).

Figure 5.

Percentage not vaccinated, segmented by marital status (Graph)

Respondents also indicated common fears around the Delta variant, rising number of confirmed cases, infections among children at school, and the possibility of a lockdown. Among those who said they were vaccinated, 75% said they would likely pursue a third booster shot if given the opportunity (18% were undecided, 7% would not seek out the third dose).