Story at a glance

  • Polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that many vaccine hesitant people were convinced by friends and family to get vaccinated.
  • Some also report learning or hearing information that changed their minds.
  • Those who are still reticent are concerned about side effects.

As new COVID-19 infections are rising in a majority of U.S. states amid the surge of the delta variant, public health officials are anxious to vaccinate as many Americans as possible.

Vaccine hesitancy, a major hindrance in building nationwide immunity since the first doses were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), continues to enable the spread of the virus. While experts work to convince people getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the safest and fastest way to end the pandemic, new data reveals what factors can help change Americans’ minds surrounding getting vaccinated.

Polling data from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that about 21 percent of people who were previously opposed to getting vaccinated eventually did so due to seeing family and friends get the vaccine without experiencing serious adverse reactions.

Consulting with personal doctors was also a major component in electing to get vaccinated.

This data follows a prior survey conducted in January 2021 that asked Americans from all over the country if they would get vaccinated and how they felt about the shot.

Researchers circled back six months later to inquire if the mindset of their respondents had changed over time.

“Conversations with family members and friends have played a major role in persuading people to get vaccinated,” the report reads. 

Roughly 25 percent of respondents who said they were planning on getting vaccinated “as soon as possible” or would “wait and see” remain unvaccinated, largely due to concerns about side effects. 

Most of those who said they would only get the vaccine if required back in January have not gotten the vaccine, with 51 percent saying they will “definitely not get it.”

Recent news chronicles the various rare but serious side effects some vaccines induce, particularly with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Of those who were unconvinced back in January and ultimately changed their minds to get vaccinated, however, the decision was largely swayed by information they heard or read.

Just more than half of respondents (52 percent) who were vaccine-hesitant said that they got inoculated after learning or hearing information that persuaded them, and 36 percent said someone talked with them and convinced them. 

Published on Jul 14, 2021