How safe do Britons think it is to socialise with unvaccinated people?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
September 23, 2021, 11:17 AM UTC

People tend to think socialising outside is safe, regardless of whether people are vaccinated or not

As this year’s short-lived summer comes to an end and the cold weather draws in, people will be heading indoors to meet family, friends, and colleagues. However, with COVID-19 cases still on the rise, do people think it is safe to be doing so?

The vast majority of Britons think that, in terms of their own prospects of catching COVID-19, meeting indoors is safe when the other person is fully vaccinated (83%) – which includes nearly a quarter of people who think this is “very safe”. Only 12% of people think socialising indoors with someone fully vaccinated is not safe.

While the majority of all age groups think they would be safe socialising indoors with fully vaccinated people, those 65 and over are most likely to say so (88%) compared to 75% of those aged 18 to 24.

This survey shows that there is little difference in perceived risk when meeting those who have turned down the jab by choice versus those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.

Only 27% of people think meeting indoors with those who have chosen not to get the vaccine is safe in terms of personally catching COVID-19. This is compared to two thirds of people (66%) who think doing so is not safe – including 28% who say it is “not safe at all”. For those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, some 30% think they would be safe meeting them indoors, while 60% think the opposite.

Britons aged 65 and over are the most likely to think they wouldn’t be safe meeting people who have chosen not to be vaccinated (84%) with only 12% of this group thinking they would be safe to do so. While around half (49%) of people aged 18 to 24 also think it wouldn’t be safe for them to meet indoors with people who have turned down the jab, some 38% think the risk to them would be low.

Socialising outdoors is generally seen as safe

Socialising outside is generally seen as a safer course of action by Brits: half of people (51%) think they would be safe meeting with someone who has refused the vaccine outside, nearly double that who think they would be safe to do so indoors. Nevertheless, 43% still say think they would not be safe to meet an unvaccinated person outdoors.

Young people are much more likely to they would be safe to meet someone who is not vaccinated outside, either by choice or medical exemption, than their elder peers. Some 51% of people aged 18 to 24 think they would be safe to socialise outside with someone who has turned down the vaccine, compared to 37% of those 65 and over. Six in ten of these older Britons (60%) think it would not be safe for them to meet someone who has not been vaccinated by choice, even outside.

See full results here