COVID-19 vaccines have been available for 6 months in the US under FDA EUAs. Many people stepped up ASAP; some remain in the wait and see camp. A new KFF survey parses motivation.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has conducted interviews with a representative sample of US adults since vaccine distribution began in January 2021. Questions have been open-ended to help better characterize concerns around the vaccine and vaccination.
The slide show that follows highlights findings from interviews with the same group of individuals, conducted June 15-23, 2021 to find out "...whether they chose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, their reasoning behind their decisions, and how they are feeling about their choice."
With infections related to the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant increasing and vaccination rates stalled, all clinicians, and especially those in primary care, have an opportunity to identify patients still "on the fence" and help them understand how essential this vaccination is.
[Note: Vaccine hesitant or resistant: "Planned to wait, only get it if required, would definitely not get vaccinated."]
JULY VS JANUARY 2021. 92% who said in January they would get vaccinated ASAP have now received at least 1 dose. More than half (54%) who said they’d “wait and see” in January have now received one dose; 46% of this group has not been vaccinated.
EFFORTS TO PURSUADE. 65% of vaccinated adults say they’ve tried to persuade friends/family; 17% of the group that was hesitant or resistant in January say a family member persuaded them;
5% say it was a friend.
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES. Half (52%) of those who were either vaccine-hesitant or resistant in January* and have now received a COVID-19 vaccine say they heard or read something that persuaded them, and more than one-third (36%) say they spoke with someone who persuaded them to get vaccinated.
WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE? Most commonly, those who were hesitant/resistant reported talking to/being persuaded by a family member (17%) or their doctor/HCP (10%), followed by a close friend (5%) or a co-worker or classmate (2%).
Many of those who said they were persuaded after talking to their own doctor mentioned their doctor encouraging them due to their own or a family member’s medical condition.
PLANNED TO GET VACCINATED, BUT... One-third of adults remain unvaccinated, including a quarter who previously said they planned to get vaccinated ASAP or wanted to “wait and see” before getting a vaccine but remain unvaccinated 6 months later. Some (3%) have an appointment/still plan to get vaccinated as soon as they are able.
PANDEMIC EXAGGERATED. For some who plan not to get vaccinated, others’ views of the pandemic influenced their decisions. Several people offered responses about the pandemic being exaggerated and no longer feeling that a vaccine was necessary.
"NOW THAT I'M VACCINATED, I FEEL..." Adults who have received at least 1 vaccine dose say they feel: 24% - “Safe” 22% - “Relieved/safe.” Other positive responses included feeling: “Freedom” “Confidence” “More assurance that if I do get COVID-19, it will be less serious/I’ll be less likely to die.”
"THE MAIN REASON I CHOSE TO GET VACCINATED..." Open-ended responses included: 27% - Protect myself/reduce my own risk. 16% - Afraid of catching the virus/avoid getting sick. 10% - Was at high risk of getting sick (age, health). 7% - Protect family members.
REASONS FOR VACCINE RESISTANCE HAVEN'T CHANGED. The main reasons for not getting vaccinated cited in July mirror those in January: 21% - concerned about side effects; 16% - Vaccines too new/not well tested; 10% - Don’t think I need the vaccine.
UNVACCINATED BUT NOT RESISTANT. Adults in this group plan to get vaccinated ASAP or want to “wait and see” a bit longer: 40% - plan to wait >1 year; 28% - within next 3 months; 33% - within 4 months – 1 year. Many of these adults report side effects they have read or hear about as the main reason for not yet being vaccinated.
MOTIVATION AMONG UNVACCINATED - STEADY. Most of these adults remain as motivated to be vaccinated in July as they were in January: 65% (all unvaccinated) 60% (wait and see) – same level of motivation as in January.
OPPORTUNITY FOR PRIMARY CARE? Given that hearing or reading “something” or talking with family, friend, or personal physician has proven persuasive, there could be room for shifting some in the “wait and see” group toward ASAP status.