Healthcare

Majority of unvaccinated incorrectly believe boosters show vaccines aren't working: KFF poll

A majority of unvaccinated respondents said they believed the potential need for COVID-19 boosters indicate that the vaccines aren't working "as well as promised," a Kaiser Family Foundation poll published Tuesday found.

KFF's September Vaccine Monitor determined that 71 percent of unvaccinated respondents think that additional booster shots signal that the vaccines are not working, compared to 19 percent of vaccinated people. 

A wide majority of vaccinated respondents, at 78 percent, said instead that possible need for boosters shows scientists are finding ways to make the vaccines more effective, as did 62 percent of all participants. In comparison, 22 percent of unvaccinated participants agreed with that statement. 

Studies have consistently shown the COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing hospitalization and death, as unvaccinated people experience both hospitalizations and fatalities at higher rates. 

The survey was taken after the Biden administration declared boosters would be available but before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially issued its recommendations for who should get the third shot.

At that point, a majority of fully vaccinated Americans, at 81 percent, said they will definitely or probably get a booster if it's recommended for them. But among the vaccinated respondents, partisan divides remain with Democrats being almost twice as likely as Republicans to say they'll "definitely" get a booster if recommended.

KFF's vaccine monitor documented a rise in vaccinations in the last month, reaching 72 percent who have already gotten at least one dose. 

Among those who got their first shot since June 1, 39 percent cited the delta variant, 38 percent pointed to local hospitals filling up and 36 percent said they decided to do so after someone they knew either became seriously ill or died.

The KFF September Vaccine Monitor surveyed 1,519 adults Sept. 13-22, including 379 who had not gotten any COVID-19 shot. The margin of error among the total population was 3 percentage points, among the vaccinated it was 4 percentage points and among the unvaccinated it was 6 percentage points.  

Last week, the CDC recommended for Pfizer-BioNTech recipients aged 65 and older, with underlying medical conditions and at higher risk of contracting the virus at work to get their third dose six months after their second shot. 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky strayed from the agency's advisory panel by advising that those at higher risk of infection due to their occupation also get an additional Pfizer dose.

The agency approved immunocompromised people to get third shots of Pfizer or Moderna last month.

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