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Research: Nearly 30% of unvaccinated workers would consider lying about their vaccination status

New research from Qualtrics revealed that nearly 30% of unvaccinated workers would consider misrepresenting their vaccination status or fabricating documents for a variety of reasons including keeping their jobs, eating out, flying on an airplane, going to the gym and more.

These findings come at a time when many Americans are considering whether it’s safe to resume daily activities — including traveling and shopping for the holidays — where their own safety is dependent on others following COVID guidelines.

At the same time, federal contractors are scrambling to enact federal vaccine mandates before January 4. Even as Pfizer approves booster shots for all, employees who misrepresent their vaccination status could perpetuate uncertainty about workplace safety, placing continued stress on the labor market and straining relationships between workers and employees.

Qualtrics asked unvaccinated American workers what is keeping them from getting fully vaccinated and just how far they are willing to go to avoid getting the shot.

How unvaccinated workers will respond to vaccine mandates

More unvaccinated people than not say a federal mandate would make them less inclined to get vaccinated. In addition, many would consider misrepresenting their vaccine status in order to keep their jobs.

Statistic regarding unvaccinated workers

  • 28% of unvaccinated workers would somewhat or strongly consider lying about their COVID vaccination status or fabricating documents in order to keep their jobs.
  • Among unvaccinated people, 52% say a mandate makes them less inclined to get vaccinated versus 23% who would be more likely to get vaccinated.
  • Only 7% of unvaccinated workers say an executive order or company policy would motivate them to get vaccinated. And only 3% of workers say a monetary fine would motivate them to take the shot.

What motivates unvaccinated people

Despite scientific evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, about two in five Americans are unvaccinated against COVID-19. The main reason people are hesitant is that they don’t trust the government.

  • The top 5 reasons people give for being unvaccinated are:
  1. They don’t trust the government (39%)
  2. They are afraid of side effects (38%)
  3. They are cautiously waiting for more information (20%)
  4. They already had COVID and don’t think they need the vaccine (16%)
  5. They know someone who had a bad reaction to the vaccine (15%)

Stat regarding unvaccinated workers

  • 37% of unvaccinated people say nothing would convince them to get vaccinated
  • Those who would consider getting vaccinated say more proof of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine would be the largest motivators.
  • In terms of activities, the biggest drivers for people to consider getting the vaccine are:
  1. Traveling to a country or city where vaccines are required (18%)
  2. Eating at a restaurant where vaccines are required (17%)
  3. Shopping at a store where vaccines are required (16%)

Some customers are willing to misrepresent their vaccine status

In addition to considering misrepresenting their vaccination status in order to keep a job, about a quarter of unvaccinated Americans would consider lying about their vaccination status for everyday activities including eating at a restaurant, going to the gym and attending a movie theater. 

  • About 25% of Americans overall know someone who has lied, or would lie, about their vaccination status to do the following activities: shop at a store, travel to a city or country where vaccines are required, work out at a gym, attend a movie theater, visit a bar, travel on an airplane, eat at a restaurant or watch sports live.
  • Even more (51%) know someone who has disregarded a sign that indicates those who are unvaccinated must wear masks in order to enter a store or other building.
  • 32% of unvaccinated people admit to having disregarded signs that say unvaccinated people must wear masks in order to enter a store or building.
  • The top five reasons unvaccinated people would consider lying about their vaccination status are to:
  1. Shop at a store where vaccines are required (31%)
  2. Attend a movie theater where vaccines are required (29%)
  3. Visit a bar where vaccines are required (29%)
  4. Travel on an airplane where vaccines are required (29%)
  5. Eat at a restaurant where vaccines are required (28%)


This study was fielded between Oct. 12 and Oct. 15, 2021. Respondents were selected from a randomized panel and considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and are employed full-time or part-time. The total number of respondents was 1,309.

Learn more about the Qualtrics Vaccination & Testing Manager

Qualtrics // Experience Management

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software platform that empowers organizations to deliver exceptional experiences and build deep relationships with their customers and employees.

With insights from Qualtrics, organizations can identify and resolve the greatest friction points in their business, retain and engage top talent, and bring the right products and services to market. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’ advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle.

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