Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows mixed views, with 12% saying ’no’ to getting the vaccine

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden received his Covid-19 booster shot live on camera. He received his first Covid-19 vaccine—the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine—late last year, and his second shot in January 2021. Because he is 78 years old, President Biden qualified for the additional booster under the latest guidance issued by the CDC.

“Boosters are important, but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated,” Biden said prior to receiving his injection. “The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing. Over 77% of adults have gotten at least one shot,” he said. “About 23% haven’t gotten any shots. And that distinct minority is causing an awful lot of damage for the rest of country. This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. That’s why I’m moving forward with vaccination requirements wherever I can,” according to CNBC.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor, as of September 2021, over 72% of U.S. adults are at least partially vaccinated, and an additional 2% plan to be vaccinated as soon as possible. The monitor is an ongoing research project in which researchers use a combination of surveys and qualitative research to track public attitudes and experiences with Covid-19 vaccination.

In September, 4% of adults said they will get the vaccine only if it is required by their workplace, school, or other activities. An additional 12% say they will “definitely not” be vaccinated.

For many, the primary motivator for vaccination was the uptick in illness, hospitalization, and death due to the Delta variant, while the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine and the increase in vaccine mandates played only a minor role. Other factors influencing the decision to be vaccinated include reports of local hospitals filling with Covid-19 patients (38%), knowing someone who became seriously ill or died from the virus (36%), and social pressure from family and friends (19%).

The following trends according to demographics have occurred:

  • Between July and September, the greatest increases in vaccine uptake occurred in Hispanic adults (up 12 percentage points) and adults aged 18-29 (up 11 percentage points).
  • A full 90% of Democrats have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 68% of independents, and 58% of Republicans.
  • Non-elderly adults without health insurance also have one of the lowest vaccination rates of any group, with only 54% reporting that they have been vaccinated.

Most American are in favor of vaccination requirements for health care workers, teachers, college students, and federal government employees, but public opinion is divided on the favorability of employer mandates and vaccine requirements in K-12 schools.

Recommendations for Covid-19 booster shots from both the FDA and the CDC are seen as a positive by vaccinated adults, but for those who remain unvaccinated, they have become a “net negative.” Most unvaccinated adults see information about Covid-19 booster shots as “a sign that the vaccines are not working as well as promised while most vaccinated adults see it as a sign that scientists are continuing to find ways to make vaccines more effective,” according to the KFF Covid-19 Vaccine Monitor.

Liz Meszaros, Deputy Managing Editor, BreakingMED™

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