WASHINGTON—Fresh polling of American Federation of Teachers members has revealed the vast majority—90 percent—are vaccinated and fully 2 in 3 K-12 members support vaccine mandates.
A survey undertaken by Hart Research Associates show 67 percent of K-12 members favor a requirement that all school employees be vaccinated unless they have a valid medical or religious exemption and 73 percent support a policy requiring vaccines or a weekly COVID-19 test.
A separate poll of the full membership—including teachers, higher education workers, nurses and public employees—shows 9 out 10 report being vaccinated and another 3 percent either have a vaccination appointment or say they will likely get vaccinated.
It indicates strategies to convince the small minority of educators who are unvaccinated include connecting them with trusted messengers to provide information on the vaccines such as their doctor, pharmacist, the CDC, and their coworkers.
On the issue of vaccine mandates, support is similarly strong among teachers (67 percent) and paraprofessionals (65 percent) and exceeds 60 percent in every region of the country. Educators of color voice particularly strong support for a mandate—78 percent among Black members, 73 percent among Hispanic members—as do those at high personal risk for COVID-19 (74 percent) and those with someone in their household at high risk (75 percent).
The policies were important, respondents said, to protect the health and safety of educators, their coworkers, their families and their students. They voiced very strong support for the principle in the AFT Executive Council’s resolution that their union should negotiate vaccine policies with districts, so that school staff have a voice in how such policies are implemented, with 82 percent in favor.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “This poll is proof positive that the hard work educators have been doing for months to get vaccinated, promote the shot and work with employers on vaccine requirements has paid dividends. Educators know that safety was the pathway back to in-person learning and is the key to staying back—a combination of vaccines, masking, ventilation, physical distancing and planning for an outbreak. They are doing everything they can to make that happen.”
From August 10 to 15, 2021, Hart Research Associates conducted a telephone survey among 1,204 AFT members on the issue of COVID-19 vaccination. The survey has a margin of error of ±3.2%.
Hart conducted a text-to-web survey from August 26 to 29, 2021 among 2,008 active AFT K-12 members (1,417 teachers, 591 PSRPs), on the issue of COVID-19 vaccination policies. The survey has a margin of error of ±2.2 percentage points.