Majority of unvaccinated incorrectly believe vaccine poses bigger risk than COVID-19: poll

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A slight majority of unvaccinated adults in the U.S. said they believe the vaccine poses a bigger risk to their health than COVID-19, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation that comes amid an ongoing battle against coronavirus misinformation.

The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor released Wednesday found that 53 percent of unvaccinated respondents think getting the vaccine is a bigger risk to their health than the virus itself. Seventy-five percent of people who said they would “definitely not” get the shot think the COVID-19 vaccine is a bigger risk.

By contrast, 88 percent of vaccinated respondents said the virus poses a greater threat.

The poll results underscore the stark differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated people’s viewpoints on COVID-19 and the vaccine.

Vaccinated respondents were much more likely to be concerned about variants disrupting the U.S. recovery, with 74 percent saying they’re worried about the country, compared to 39 percent of the unvaccinated who said the same.

Respondents who have gotten the vaccine were also at least three times more likely than their unvaccinated counterparts to believe the vaccine is effective at preventing death, serious illness or hospitalization and general infection.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory last month designating health misinformation an “urgent threat” as the administration continues to promote vaccinations to the 30 percent of adults who haven’t received a dose.

The Biden administration has called on Americans to get vaccinated for months before taking a more aggressive approach last week after vaccination rates remained relatively stagnate. President Biden announced that federal workers will have to either show proof of vaccination or go through regular COVID-19 testing.

The KFF vaccine monitor found that 67 percent of adults have reported getting the vaccine. Fourteen percent said they would “definitely not” get the vaccine, a figure that’s remained mostly unchanged since December. Ten percent said they plan to “wait and see” before getting the vaccine.

Still, in a glimmer of hope, about a quarter of unvaccinated adults, amounting to 8 percent of all adults, said they expected to get vaccinated by the end of the year. That amounts to almost half of people who say they want to “wait and see” before getting the shot.

“Seeing their friends get sick and local hospitals fill up again with COVID patients may speed them along and add to their ranks,” KFF president and CEO Drew Altman said in a statement.

The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor surveyed 1,517 adults from July 15-27. The margin of error amounted to 3 percentage points.

The poll results came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask recommendations for fully vaccinated people to wear masks in indoor spaces in high-risk areas. So the numbers do not reflect any recent increase in vaccinations following the CDC’s warning that the delta variant could be transmitted by vaccinated people.

Vaccinated people were more likely to wear masks in public indoor and crowded outdoor settings than those without the shot, the poll showed. KFF said in a release that the differences “are to a large degree driven by unvaccinated Republicans.”

COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations are all on the rise in the U.S. as the delta variant sweeps the nation in what health officials have called a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19 vaccine poll Joe Biden Kaiser Family Foundation KFF vaccine monitor Masks Pandemic unvaccinated Vaccine Vivek Murthy

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