The COVID-19 pandemic is now, more than ever, a story about the unvaccinated. They are the most vulnerable: In states that reported serious infections, more than 90 percent of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have occurred among people who are not vaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study (KFF). And this significant group of Americans you can open the door for mutations even more dangerous than the delta variant, almost twice as contagious than previous strains, which could challenge the efficacy of existing vaccines.
So who, exactly, are we talking about? Three in 10 American adults remain unvaccinated, according to the last poll of the KFF. But they are not a monolith: their reasons, background, policy, and willingness to get vaccinated eventually vary.
First, among those who resist vaccines, the largest group are those who say they definitely do not want the vaccine, about 14 percent of the general population, and there is no evidence that they are changing their minds. That number has been pretty constant for months. (The most recent survey we have was done in July, so we’ll have to wait to see if the higher risk posed by the delta variant changes anything.)
Ten percent of vaccine-eligible Americans want to “wait and see” how the vaccine works for others before deciding whether to get the vaccine. This group has shrunk significantly over time, suggesting that they may be influenced. They are more diverse than the tough ones; 4 out of 10 adults in the wait-and-see group are people of color, compared with 26 percent in the “definitely not” group. There is also a higher proportion of Democrats, young adults, and people reporting lower levels of education and income among those who wait and see. They are concerned about the vaccine, but some of them also face barriers to access, said Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research for the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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“They may not have paid time off from work to get the vaccine and recover from the side effects, they may not have a reliable healthcare provider they can go to with questions about the vaccine, and it is also more likely that the group ‘definitely not’ to say they are concerned about getting infected, ”Hamel said.
Most adults who have not yet received the vaccine, either due to safety concerns or barriers to access, say they are unlikely to receive the vaccine this year, and nearly half say they “definitely” will not. will receive.
Compared to the “wait and see” group, those in the “definitely not” group have larger proportions of non-Hispanic white adults, Republicans, rural adults, and white evangelical Christians.
The 14 percent of Americans who strongly oppose getting the vaccine are predominantly non-Hispanic white adults, are much more likely to be insured, and are more likely to identify as Republicans.
You can also see partisanship geographically: vaccination the gap has been growing between counties that voted for former President Donald Trump and those that voted for President Biden. In two months, the gap went from 6.5 percent to 11.7 percent.
Those who strongly oppose jab are also much more likely to believe misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. A foundation of the Kaiser family poll April found that 81 percent of the “definitely not” group were more likely to believe or were unsure about at least one vaccine myth, including misconceptions that vaccines contain fetal cells, cause infertility, or change our DNA. This may explain why they continue to overwhelmingly think that the vaccine poses a greater risk to their health than COVID-19.
So as the ‘wait and see’ group has shrunk in recent months, and the proportion of vaccinated Americans has risen to around 70 percent, the block of Americans who have not yet been vaccinated has become more made up of those who remain unconditionally convinced of receiving a vaccine. And that could become a problem for everyone. Vaccines they tried to be effective against the delta variant, but unvaccinated Americans can open the door to more dangerous mutations. If that time comes, vaccinated Americans may run into trouble, too, said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in a interview with McClatchy last week.
“People who don’t get vaccinated mistakenly think it’s just about them. But is not. It’s also about everyone else, ”Fauci said.