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New Research Finds 70% of State and Local Government Employees Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

June 29, 2021

MissionSquare Research Institute National Poll Indicates Most Employers Encourage Rather than Mandate Vaccines; Protecting Personal Health is Top Reason for Vaccination

New Research Finds 70% of State and Local Government Employees Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

As COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to increase across the U.S., new research indicates that a high number of state and local employees are vaccinated. In this segment of the workforce, 70% are fully vaccinated and 6% are partially vaccinated.

These findings are contained in a new research infographic from MissionSquare Research Institute (formerly the Center for State and Local Government Excellence at ICMA-RC). The results are based on a national survey, fielded by Greenwald Research in May 2021, of 1,203 full-time state and local government employees. Access the infographic.

The research reveals that an overwhelming 65% of state and local employers are encouraging employees to get vaccinated. Another 8% of employers are providing incentives for their employees to do so. Only 5% of workers report that their employers have issued mandates. While 22% of employers have been neutral on the vaccine, none have discouraged vaccinations.

Nearly half (45%) of state and local employees believe government employers should mandate that employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. Also, 59% of respondents say that the vaccine will only be effective if everyone receives it, while 44% are concerned about whether their co-workers will get vaccinated.

The infographic also offers insight on vaccinations by gender, age, geography, income, profession, and race/ethnicity.

“It’s encouraging to see such high vaccination levels amongst the state and local workforce,” said Rivka Liss-Levinson, Ph.D., Senior Research Manager at MissionSquare Research Institute. “Many state and local employees are front line workers – public safety, public health, and teachers. High vaccination levels help protect the workforce and the public from exposure to this dangerous virus.

“However, it’s worth noting that vaccination rates are not equal across this workforce, with younger, lower income, and Black or African American state and local workers significantly less likely to be fully vaccinated. It will be important for employers to continue their trend of encouraging vaccine uptake to increase equity,” Liss-Levinson said.

Top factors for employees who opted for vaccinations include:

  • Protecting personal health (63%)
  • Ensuring the health of family and friends (58%)
  • Providing the freedom to travel without worry (26%)

Top factors for opting out of vaccinations among employees who are undecided or will likely not get the vaccine include:

  • Concerns about side effects (64%)
  • The need for more information about how well the vaccine works (37%)
  • A lack of trust in government (33%)

MissionSquare Research Institute will release the full results the survey throughout the summer of 2021.

This research follows previous polling conducted in October 2020 and May 2020 to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public sector workers’ financial and employment outlooks, and health and safety concerns. Visit for past infographics and reports.

Final data were weighted by gender, age, income, and industry type to reflect the distribution of the state and local government workforce as found in the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and the U.S. Census of Governments.

MissionSquare Research Institute (formerly the Center for State and Local Government Excellence at ICMA-RC) promotes excellence in state and local government and other public service organizations so they can attract and retain talented employees. The organization identifies leading practices and conducts research on retirement plans, health and wellness benefits, workforce demographics and skill set needs, labor force development, and topics facing the not-for-profit industry and the education sector. MissionSquare Research Institute brings leaders together with respected researchers. For more information and to access research and publications, visit and follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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