As mass vaccination events draw crowds, the Gulf South still has many residents that are not on board with the vaccine. New Gulf South Index research from March 15 shows that while 13% in the Gulf South feel the COVID-19 situation is getting a lot worse compared to just 7% nationwide, our region is still much less likely to get the vaccine. What do we need to do to get more people vaccinated in our region?

Dr. Anthony Fauci estimates that in order to achieve herd immunity, approximately 70-80% of the population would have to have COVID-19 immunity, either by way of antibodies from prior infection or the vaccine.

Nationally, the majority of people have made up their minds to get the vaccine. In our region, nearly 30% of people say that they will not get the vaccine, meaning that something needs to be done to motivate 20% of the people who are currently “unsure” to move to “yes.” There is even more work to do to get people to move from a “no” to “unsure” to “yes.”


People in the Gulf South trust their employers and local businesses more than they trust elected officials, according to new data featured in the upcoming 2021 Gulf South Index. Friends and family on social media also have a stronger persuasive voice for those on the fence. Federal or state vaccine requirements may ultimately force citizens who say “no” today to change their minds because of needing proof of vaccinations for jobs, travel or other activities. However, grassroots initiatives by employers, local businesses and peers can certainly go a long way in reaching the “no” respondents and getting them on the path to “unsure” and then “yes.”

“Businesses will need to play a large role in moving citizens that are unsure about receiving COVID-19 vaccines, because citizens here just trust the information they receive from their employer and other local businesses more than messages received from elected officials. Whether it is part of a larger employee health effort, peer-to-peer conversations in the workplace or even specific vaccination requirements, businesses are at the center of our chances to reach herd immunity in the Gulf South, because of the trust they have with their employees and customers. Businesses can choose how they want to work to advance the collective public good here,” said Marc Ehrhardt, president and partner of The Ehrhardt Group.

COMING SOON: 2021 Gulf South Index Report with the latest trends, opinions and insights into the people of the Gulf South.


The Gulf South Index has been tracking consumer trends, opinions and insights since the start of the pandemic. What do the patterns tell us? What makes our region distinct from everyone else?  How can we use this information to better serve our clients, customers and target audiences?

We are putting the finishing touches on our 2021 Gulf South Index Report, where we will take a closer look at the state of COVID-19 in the Gulf South, who people in our region trust and why, what COVID-induced behaviors are here to stay and how consumer optimism fairs as we move past the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. We will measure the opinions and actions in the Gulf South and see how our region differs – or is the same – as the rest of the country.

More to come…

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The Gulf South Index is a cooperative project between The Ehrhardt Group, a public relations, content, issues and crisis firm, and Causeway Solutions, a nationally recognized research and data analysis company, that are both based in the Gulf South.

The Index delves into hundreds of thousands of data points to paint a better picture of how the millions of people living in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle are going about their lives. We want to find out more about how we make decisions, from what we are buying and how we are getting our news to where we plan to travel.

Causeway Solutions and The Ehrhardt Group conducted a series of online surveys, each of 1,443-1,500 adults with a margin of error of 2.5%.  Surveys were conducted on February 25, 2021 and March 16, 2021.

We cannot comment on the methodology of the surveys and research we did not conduct, which is why we do our best to link to the source articles or studies that we share here.

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