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Nearly half of all Americans want to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can, a new poll suggests.
That percentage is even higher among those who know someone who has already been vaccinated.
"Perhaps more important than any message is the impact of seeing a neighbor, friend or family member get their shots without any adverse effects," said Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), which conducted the poll. "It provides hope that vaccine confidence will build over time."
People do find messages that promote the vaccine's effectiveness and promise a return to normalcy convincing, but they are discouraged when they hear about allergic reactions and side effects, the pollsters said.
The desire to get vaccinated is increasing among all groups, but Republicans and rural residents remain the most reluctant.
The survey, conducted among more than 1,500 adults Jan. 11-18 and published Jan. 27 in the KFF publication COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, found that 47% of Americans want to get vaccinated as soon as they can or have already been vaccinated. That's much higher than the 34% of the public who said they wanted to get the vaccine in December.
Another 31% say they want to "wait until it has been available for a while to see how it is working for others."
But 20% are more reluctant to get vaccinated, including 7% who will only get vaccinated "if required to do so for work, school or other activities," and 13% who say they will "definitely not" get the vaccine, the survey found.
Race, politics play role
Those who have been vaccinated or want to get vaccinated as soon as possible has increased among Black, Hispanic and white adults.
Among white respondents, 53% are more likely to want the vaccine than Black respondents (35%) and Hispanic respondents (42%).
More Black people (43%) and Hispanic people (37%) are likely to say they will "wait and see" to get vaccinated than white respondents (26%).
White people (51%) are more likely than Black adults (38%) or Hispanic adults (37%) to have been vaccinated or know someone who has, and those with incomes of at least $90,000 are nearly twice as likely as those with incomes under $40,000 to say so (65% versus 33%).
"Many people clearly feel like they need more information before they will get in line for a vaccine, and what they hear -- positive or negative, true or false -- may influence what they ultimately do," Mollyann Brodie, KFF executive vice president, said in a foundation news release. "Many are concerned about potential side effects and adverse reactions, particularly Black and Hispanic adults, presenting both a challenge and opportunity for outreach and education efforts."
Political party affiliation also influenced vaccine views: Democrats and Independents were more enthusiastic about the vaccine, while Republicans' views haven't changed since December.
Among health care workers, 32% say they have gotten at least the first dose of a vaccine, and 26% want to get vaccinated as soon as possible. But 28% want to wait and see before being vaccinated, 5% would only get it if required, and 9% would not get vaccinated.
Knowing someone who got the vaccine a powerful persuader
People who know someone who has been vaccinated are more likely to want to be vaccinated themselves.
For example, 52% of those who want to get vaccinated as soon as possible know someone who has already gotten a dose, compared with 29% of those who would only get it if required and 36% of those who definitely won't get it.
Among those who have not yet been vaccinated, 57% say they would get vaccinated if they heard it was "highly effective" in preventing COVID-19, while 54% would get vaccinated if the vaccine offers "the quickest way for life to return to normal."
And 46% say they would likely get vaccinated if they heard that "millions of people have already safely been vaccinated" and that vaccination is needed to "get the U.S. economy back on track."
Messages that make people say they would be less likely to get a vaccine include information about severe allergic reactions (39%) or short-term side effects such as fever or pain (33%).
Also, 68% say they are worried about the vaccine's long-term effects, potentially serious side effects (59%), and if the vaccines are as safe (55%) and effective (53%) as claimed.
And 31% of those who have not been vaccinated are worried about getting COVID-19 from the vaccine. That concern is higher among Black people (54%) and Hispanic people (50%).
Black and Hispanic respondents are more likely than whites to be concerned about other adverse effects.
For more on the COVID-19 vaccine, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation, news release, Jan. 27, 2021
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