A quarter of unvaccinated adults say they are likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year, according to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. This includes nearly half (45%) of people who consider themselves in the in the “wait and see” group of unvaccinated Americans.

President Joe Biden has said the country is now in the midst of a pandemic of the unvaccinated. “Seeing their friends get sick and local hospitals fill up again with COVID patients may speed them along and add to their ranks,” Drew Altman, KFF president and chief executive officer, said.

But there is still much skepticism and misinformation — based on currently available data — among the ranks of the unvaccinated. More than half (53%) of unvaccinated adults say the vaccine actually poses a bigger risk to their health than COVID-19 itself. Over 165 million Americans are now fully vaccinated.


Vaccinated adults are at least three times as likely to believe the vaccines prevent hospitalization, death, serious illness and infection.

In sharp contrast, however, an overwhelming majority of vaccinated adults (88%) say that getting the coronavirus is a bigger risk to their health than the vaccine. Vaccinated adults are at least three times as likely to believe the vaccines prevent hospitalization, death, serious illness and infection from COVID-19.

Approximately 99% of recent COVID-related deaths were among the unvaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last month. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said they accounted for over 97% of hospitalizations.

Most people surveyed (60%) say they have read or heard about the prospect that some vaccinated people might need COVID-19 booster shots. Nearly a quarter of vaccinated adults say that this has led them to be concerned that they might not be well-protected against the coronavirus.


Confidence in the safety of the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. has not changed significantly since April.

However, confidence in the safety of the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. has not changed significantly since April. About three-quarters of adults now say the vaccines are safe, the KFF report found. Yet only 37% of unvaccinated Americans say they’re more likely to wear a mask vs. 62% of vaccinated adults.

The vaccine from Johnson & Johnson unit 
JNJ,
-0.28%

 Janssen is an adenovirus vector-based vaccine that only requires one shot. Clinical trials showed it had 72% efficacy in the U.S. (Despite this data, only 47% of adults in the KFF survey said they believed that this vaccine was safe vs. 72% for Pfizer and 68% for Moderna.)

The two-shot mRNA-based vaccines made by Pfizer 
PFE,
-0.59%

with German partner BioNTech SE 
BNTX,
-2.47%

and Moderna 
MRNA,
-1.49%

make up the majority of shots administered in the U.S., with clinical data pointing to efficacy rates in the mid-90% range. Mayo Clinic research puts their “real world” effectiveness at closer to 88.7%.

Also read: As the more contagious delta variant circulates, public health experts say herd immunity has become an even more distant goal

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