• Vaccines in Kentucky Poll commissioned by Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
• Poll shows efforts lowered hesitancy rate by roughly one-third
• One-in-5 unvaccinated Kentuckians still open to getting COVID-19 vaccine
• Kentuckians split on mask wearing, showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination
• Foundation offering mini grants as “booster shots” for local organizations working to encourage COVID-19 vaccination
• Foundation hosting Health Policy Forum to discuss vaccine policy, efforts to increase uptake of all vaccines, including COVID-19

LOUISVILLE, KY (September 16, 2021) – A new Vaccines in Kentucky Poll, commissioned by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, shows efforts to encourage COVID-19 vaccines have persuaded two-thirds of those who said earlier this year they were open to changing their minds. The poll, conducted August 4 to September 4, showed overall lower hesitancy by about one-third, compared to a similar poll conducted six months ago.

The new poll shows nearly 75 percent of Kentuckians have received a COVID-19 vaccine. About one-in-five Kentuckians who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine say they’ll definitely or probably get it. Just under half of those who have not received the vaccine say they’ll definitely not get it, while a quarter say they’ll probably not get it.

More than one-third of people who have not gotten the vaccine say nothing will motivate them to change their minds. One-in-five people say they want more time for testing and research. And about one-in-six want more evidence and information about COVID, the vaccines, safety, efficacy, and side effects.


Overall, Kentuckians believe in the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, including their protection against new strains of the coronavirus. However, people who have received a vaccination believe this significantly more than those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine.

“This poll is encouraging because it shows there are still Kentuckians who are open to learning more and getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “The Foundation continues to support local efforts to get more Kentuckians vaccinated so they can be better protected from serious illness and death from COVID-19. It’s why we’ve also opened $20,000 in mini grants to help organizations get the facts about the vaccine out.”

Kentuckians Split
The Vaccines in Kentucky Poll also showed Kentuckians are split when it comes to what precautions they are comfortable with to guard against the coronavirus – from wearing a mask to showing proof of vaccine to enter businesses.

Mask Wearing
• One-in-three Kentuckians reports always wearing a mask in an outdoor crowded public space, while one-third wear a mask sometimes or occasionally, and one-third never wear a mask.
o More than a quarter of those who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine never wear a mask, while almost four-in-10 who have not gotten the vaccine never wear a mask.
• Almost half of Kentuckians say they always wear a mask indoors in a crowded public space.
o This includes almost half of those who have been vaccinated and more than one-third of those who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.
o More than half of women report wearing a mask at all times in a crowded, indoor public space compared to just over one-in-three men.
o Almost a quarter of those unvaccinated say they never wear a mask indoors in a crowded public space.


 Showing Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination
When it comes to showing proof of vaccination to enter a business, Kentuckians have different views based on the type of business.

• Two-thirds think it’s a bad idea to require proof of vaccine to enter a grocery or retail store.

• While slightly more than half think it’s a bad idea for restaurants and bars to require proof of vaccination, slightly more than half think it’s a good idea for sporting events and concerts to require people to show their vaccine card.

• There is more consensus when it comes to public transportation. Nearly two-thirds of Kentuckians think it’s a good idea to require proof of vaccination to board a plane or ride a train or bus.

 Student Mandates
Kentuckians are split on whether children ages 12 and older should be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school in-person. However, two-thirds of people who live with children in their home think it’s a bad idea.

More than two-thirds of Kentuckians think it’s a good idea for schools to require unvaccinated children to wear masks at school. For those who have children living in their homes, that number drops just below two-thirds.

 Mini Grants Available for Local Vaccination Efforts

The Foundation will award 10, $2,000 Keeping Our Communities Healthy mini grants at the beginning of October. They are intended to be a rapid infusion to help get more Kentuckians vaccinated. The deadline for application is October 1. Read more and apply here.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky commissioned the Vaccines in Kentucky Poll. It was conducted August 4 – September 4, 2021, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. More than 500 adults from throughout Kentucky were polled by telephone. The poll includes a +/- 4.3 percent margin of error. Read the briefs here.

Health Policy Forum
Other research shows the pandemic has reduced overall vaccinations – a potentially dangerous trend that could impact the health of Kentuckians for a generation. This, and other vaccine topics will be discussed at the 2021 Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, presented by Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, September 20 – 21. The virtual conference will include presentations and panels from top health policy experts across the country. Kentucky Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Steven Stack, will kick the forum off with a State of Vaccines in Kentucky presentation at 12:30 on Monday, September 20. On Tuesday, U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra will provide the keynote presentation.

The Bost Forum is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Click here for more information.