More than a third of adults recently vaccinated against COVID-19 say fear of the Delta variant was their biggest motivator rather than incentives or mandates, a new poll shows.
The latest wave of the survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), looked at adults who received their first injections after June 1, 2021.
Of this group, 39 percent said the increase in cases due to Delta was a major reason for getting vaccinated.
By comparison, 19 percent said an employer mandate was a major reason.
Meanwhile, booster shots have injected a shot of confusion into the vaccination effort, with 71 percent of unvaccinated Americans saying boosters are a sign the vaccines aren’t working.
The survey data suggests that public health leaders still have a lot of work to do in promoting vaccination, as the number of Covid cases – and the number of vaccinations – are now falling across the country, potentially ending the epidemic. Delta wave.
New data from KFF provides insight into why people got vaccinated during the Delta wave. Pictured: Vaccination at a New York City clinic, September 2021
New data from KFF provides insight into why people got vaccinated during the Delta wave. Pictured: Tuesday Ward of West View in Pittsburgh receives a COVID-19 booster shot at Allegheny General Hospital, Sept. 23
The Delta spike was a greater motivator for vaccinations than employer mandates or other incentives, with 39 percent saying the increase in Delta case was a “major reason” for vaccination
Just under three-quarters of U.S. adults now report having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to new research data from KFF.
KFF found that 72 percent of American adults are now vaccinated, in a survey conducted between September 13 and 22, 2021.
The survey included a nationally representative sample of 1,500 adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report slightly higher vaccination rates: 77 percent of American adults have received at least one dose on September 27.
About two-thirds of American adults are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Although vaccination rates vary greatly by state, KFF’s research suggests that vaccination gaps between racial and ethnic groups have been closed in recent months.
Now the vaccination rate is slightly higher for Hispanic adults (73 percent) compared to white adults (71 percent) and black adults (70 percent).
Hispanic adults and young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 saw the largest vaccination increases from July to September, KFF found.
However, a wide partisan divide remains. About 90 percent of Democrats report being vaccinated, compared to just 58 percent of Republicans.
Uninsured adults under the age of 65 are the least likely to be vaccinated, at a rate of 54 percent compared to all other groups included in the KFF analysis.
About 90 percent of Democrats report being vaccinated, compared to just 58 percent of Republicans, KFF’s survey finds
White Evangelical Christians and rural Americans also have low vaccination rates, with 62 percent of both groups reporting having received at least one Covid shot.
KFF asked those adults who were vaccinated after June 1, 2021 why they chose to get the shots.
For those recently vaccinated adults, the Delta peak was the biggest motivator.
About 39 percent of those recently vaccinated cited the increase in U.S. cases as a major reason they were vaccinated, while 38 percent cited reports of local hospitals becoming overrun with Covid patients.
Another key group – 36 percent – said they knew someone who became seriously ill or died of Covid during the summer wave.
For 14 percent of those recently vaccinated, knowing someone who became seriously ill or died of Covid was the main reason they were vaccinated.
In addition, KFF found that in counties with a high Covid caseload, 24 percent had their first chance after June 1 – compared to 15 percent in counties with a low caseload.
Americans living in counties where there were high numbers of Covid cases in the summer of 2021 were more likely to have recently received their first dose, compared to those living in areas with few cases
Vaccine requirements and social pressure motivated other groups of recently vaccinated adults.
About 35 percent said a major reason for their vaccination was a desire to “participate in certain activities that required vaccination, such as going to a gym, a concert or sporting event, or to travel.”
Another 19 percent said a vaccination requirement from their employer was a major reason they were vaccinated.
A similar number – 19 percent – said “social pressure from family and friends” was a major reason for their vaccination.
And a smaller number — 15 percent — said FDA approval was a major reason for vaccination, although only two percent said it was the major reason they were vaccinated.
KFF’s findings are consistent with research showing that vaccine incentives — such as Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery — had no significant impact on vaccination coverage.
Americans who have already been vaccinated are more likely to find information about a booster shot ‘helpful’, while unvaccinated Americans are more likely to find such information ‘confusing’
Majority of unvaccinated adults – 71 percent – said booster news is ‘a sign that the vaccines are not working as promised’
In recent weeks, the vaccine conversation between health experts and political leaders has focused on booster shots.
Boostershot news has confused many Americans, KFF found.
Just over half — 54 percent — of vaccinated adults said the information they saw on booster shots was “helpful.” Only 24 percent of unvaccinated adults said the same thing.
Democrats are much more likely to say they will “definitely” get a booster if recommended — 68 percent of Democrats, compared to 36 percent of Republicans.
Of unvaccinated adults, 71 percent say the news about boosters is “a sign that the vaccines aren’t working.”
When KFF asked already vaccinated respondents to explain their reasons for refusing a booster injection, the answers reflected a lack of trust in government and scientists.
“I don’t trust anything the government says anymore,” said one respondent, a 66-year-old black man.
Most Americans — 78 percent — say the federal government should demand paid time off to get a Covid vaccine and recover from side effects
Still, the majority of respondents — 58 percent — supported the Biden administration’s mandate for major employers to demand vaccination or regular Covid testing.
A much larger majority – 78 percent – said the government should require employers to give employees paid time off to receive their injections and recover from side effects.
In short, KFF’s research findings suggest that public health leaders at all levels — from the federal government to local health departments — have a lot of work ahead of vaccine promotion.
Daily immunizations in the US are now being cut again as the Delta wave appears to be abating.