Covid US: More than ONE-THIRD of those recently vaccinated motivated by fear of the Delta variant


More than one-third of adults who have recently been vaccinated against COVID-19 say fear of the Delta variant was their biggest motivator rather than incentives or mandates, a new poll finds. 

The latest wave of the survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), looked at adults who received their first shots after June 1, 2021.  

Of this group, 39 percent said that the increase in cases due to Delta was a major reason they got 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 that boosters are a sign that the vaccines don’t work.

The survey data suggest that public health leaders still have much work to do in promoting vaccination as Covid case numbers – and vaccination numbers – are now falling across the country in a potential end to the Delta surge. 

New data from KFF provide insights into why people have stepped up to get vaccinated during the Delta surge. Pictured: Vaccination at a clinic in New York City, September 2021

New data from KFF provide insights into why people have stepped up to get vaccinated during the Delta surge. Pictured: Tuesday Ward of West View in Pittsburgh receives a COVID-19 booster shot at Allegheny General Hospital, September 23

New data from KFF provide insights into why people have stepped up to get vaccinated during the Delta surge. Pictured: Tuesday Ward of West View in Pittsburgh receives a COVID-19 booster shot at Allegheny General Hospital, September 23

The Delta surge was a bigger motivator for vaccinations than employer mandates or other incentives, with 39 percent saying the Delta case increase was a 'major reason' for vaccination

The Delta surge was a bigger motivator for vaccinations than employer mandates or other incentives, with 39 percent saying the Delta case increase was a ‘major reason’ for vaccination

Just under three-quarters of American adults now report that they’ve received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according new survey 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 reports a slightly higher vaccination rate: 77 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose as of September 27.

About two-thirds of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

While vaccination rates vary wildly by state, KFF’s survey suggests that vaccination gaps between race and ethnic groups have 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 ages 18 and 29 saw the biggest vaccination increases from July to September, KFF found.

Still, a wide partisan gap remains. About 90 percent of Democrats report being vaccinated, compared to just 58 percent of Republicans.

Uninsured adults under age 65 are the least likely to be vaccinated, at a rate of 54 percent compared to all other groups included in KFF’s analysis.

About 90 percent of Democrats report being vaccinated, compared to just 58 percent of Republicans, KFF's survey found

About 90 percent of Democrats report being vaccinated, compared to just 58 percent of Republicans, KFF’s survey found

White Evangelical Christians and rural Americans also have low vaccination rates, with 62 percent of both groups reporting that they’ve received at least one Covid shot.

KFF asked those adults who were vaccinated after June 1, 2021 about why they chose to get the jabs.

For those recently-vaccinated adults, the Delta surge was the biggest motivator.

About 39 percent of those recently vaccinated cited the America’ss case increase as a major reason why they got vaccinated, while 38 percent cited reports of local hospitals becoming overwhelmed with Covid patients.

Another significant group – 36 percent – said that they knew someone who got seriously ill or died from Covid during the summer surge.

For 14 percent of those recently vaccinated, knowing someone who got seriously ill or died from Covid was the primary reason why they got vaccinated. 

In addition, KFF found that, in counties with high Covid caseloads, 24 percent had received their first shot after June 1 – compared to 15 percent in counties with low caseloads. 

Americans living in counties that saw high Covid case counts in summer 2021 were more likely to have received their first dose recently, compared to those living in low-case areas

Americans living in counties that saw high Covid case counts in summer 2021 were more likely to have received their first dose recently, compared to those living in low-case areas

Vaccine requirements and social pressures motivated other groups of recently-vaccinated adults.

About 35 percent said that 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 that a vaccine requirement from their employer was a major reason why they got vaccinated.

A similar number – 19 percent – said that ‘social pressure from family and friends’ was a major reason for their vaccination.

And a smaller number – 15 percent – said that FDA approval was a major reason for vaccination, though just two percent said his was the primary reason they got vaccinated.

KFF’s findings align with research showing that vaccine incentives – such as Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery – did not have a significant impact on vaccination rates.

Americans who are already vaccinated are more likely to find booster shot information 'helpful' while unvaccinated Americans are more likely to find such information 'confusing'

Americans who are already vaccinated are more likely to find booster shot information ‘helpful’ while unvaccinated Americans are more likely to find such information ‘confusing’

The majority of unvaccinated adults - 71 percent - said that booster news is 'a sign the vaccines aren't working as promised'

The majority of unvaccinated adults – 71 percent – said that booster news is ‘a sign the vaccines aren’t working as promised’

In recent weeks, vaccine conversation among health experts and political leaders has focused on booster shots.

Booster shot news has confused many Americans, KFF found.

Just over half – 54 percent – of vaccinated adults said that information they’ve seen on booster shots has been ‘helpful.’ Only 24 percent of unvaccinated adults said the same.

Democrats are much more likely to say they’ll ‘definitely’ get a booster if recommended – 68 percent of Democrats, compared to 36 percent of Republicans.

Among unvaccinated adults, 71 percent say the news about boosters is ‘a sign the vaccines aren’t working.’

When KFF asked already-vaccinated survey respondents to elaborate on their reasons for refusing a booster shot, responses reflected lack of trust in the government and in scientists.

‘I don’t trust anything the government says anymore,’ said one respondent, a 66-year-old black man.

Most Americans - 78 percent - say that the federal government should require paid time off to get a Covid vaccine and recover from side effects

Most Americans – 78 percent – say that the federal government should require paid time off to get a Covid vaccine and recover from side effects 

Still, the majority of survey respondents – 58 percent – supported the Biden administration mandate for large employers to require vaccination or regular Covid testing.

A much bigger majority – 78 percent – said the government should require employers to give workers paid time off, to get their shots and recover from side effects.

In short, KFF’s survey findings suggest that public health leaders at all levels – from the federal government to local health departments – have a lot of vaccine promotion work ahead of them.

Daily vaccinations are now once again going down in the U.S. as the Delta surge appears to wane.

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