KFF: Delta cases, hospitalizations lead to uptick in vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccination rates ticked up recently after a surge of cases and deaths due to the highly transmissible delta variant, a new survey found.

The survey, released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, also found that a large majority of Americans believes COVID-19 will continue at a lower level in the near future and will resemble the seasonal flu.

Kaiser found 72% of Americans now report that they have gotten at least partially vaccinated against the virus, up from 67% in late July.

Respondents who got vaccinated since June 1 cited a massive surge of cases linked to the delta variant as a key driver, with 39% of adults citing it as a reason. Thirty-eight percent cited reports of local hospitals filling up. Another 36% said they got vaccinated after a friend or family member became seriously ill or died.

“Nothing motivates people to get vaccinated quickly like the impact of seeing a family member, friend or neighbor die or become seriously ill with COVID-19, or to worry that your hospital might not be able to save your life if you need it,” Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman said in a statement.

Another 2% of adults this month say they plan to get the vaccine as soon as they can, with 7% aiming to wait and see. But the number of reluctant people is down from 10% in July.

Another 4% reported they would only get the shot if it is required via a mandate.

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A majority of those surveyed (58%) supported a new mandate released by the Biden administration earlier this month that requires any employer with 100 or more people to require vaccines or weekly testing for their workers.

“When unvaccinated workers are asked what they would do if their employer required them to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to continue working, one-third (34%) say they would be very or somewhat likely to get the vaccine, one in six (15%) say they would be ‘not too likely’ to get it and half (50%) say they would be ‘not at all likely to get vaccinated,” a release on the survey said.

The Biden administration also called for healthcare workers to get vaccinated as major health systems across the country have installed mandates.

The survey showed major confidence among the vaccinated in getting booster shots just as the Biden administration has started to roll them out.

“Among fully vaccinated Americans, a large majority say they will definitely (55%) or probably (26%) get a booster if it is recommended for people like them,” the survey said. “Those who don’t want a booster say they feel they won’t need it (14%), believe more research is necessary (13%) and they don’t rust the government or the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] (8%).”

Partisan differences continue to influence vaccination decisions and feelings on boosters.

A whopping 86% of Democrats said they would definitely get a booster compared to 36% of Republicans. There also remains a major gap in getting vaccinated, with 90% of Democrats reporting having gotten at least one shot compared with 58% of Republicans.

Kaiser talked to 1,519 adults from Sept. 13-22, and the survey has a margin of error of three percentage points.

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