Unvaccinated Americans less likely to worry about getting seriously ill from COVID-19, survey says

Andrea Blanford Image
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Survey: Unvaccinated less worried about serious illness from COVID-19
A new survey has found nearly half of Americans who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to be worried about getting seriously ill.

A new survey has found nearly half of Americans who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 are adamant they will never get the shot, but are also are less likely to be worried about getting seriously ill from the virus.

The Kaiser Family Foundation released the results of a survey conducted July 15-27 among 1,517 adults with 67 percent of participants reporting they had received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Despite the fact that the unvaccinated are most at risk of getting severely ill or dying from COVID-19, nine in 10 adults who said they would "definitely not" get a COVID vaccine, said they are not worried about getting seriously sick from the virus; three-fourths said the vaccine poses a greater risk to their health than becoming infected with COVID-19.

"I just can't really understand why people are procrastinating or just refusing to even get the vaccine," said Carolyn Tucker, who got vaccinated as soon as she was eligible in the spring. "They seem to take more consideration in the negative stuff they hear on the news than listen to the positive things about the vaccine."

The majority of unvaccinated Americans, 57 percent, also said the news has "generally exaggerated" the seriousness of the coronavirus, while three-fourths of vaccinated adults said the news has been "generally correct" or "generally underestimated" the seriousness of the pandemic.

Tucker said she has four grandsons, including one in the military, who are refusing to get a shot because none of the three available vaccines has yet to receive full FDA approval.

She, however, had no qualms about getting her shot when she was able.

"I have a lot of underlying issues and I was just waiting for it and I'm telling you I just feel safer," said Tucker.

SEE MORE: Methodology for the survey (.pdf)

Vaccinated people reported higher levels of concern than unvaccinated people, 74 percent vs. 39 percent, regarding new variants of the virus leading to a worsening of the pandemic in the U.S.

"I've really enjoyed being able to get out as of late and hopefully we can get the trends turned around and headed back in the right direction," said Jim Dillon who did not want to disclose his vaccination status.

While nearly three-fourths of Americans, 74 percent, said they believe COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. are safe, that doesn't hold true when asked about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, specifically.

When looking at the two mRNA vaccines, 72 percent said the Pfizer vaccine was safe and 68 percent said that of the Moderna vaccine, however, only 47 percent were confident in the safety of the J & J vaccine.

"I do appreciate that some folks are getting the vaccination," Dillon said.

The partisan divide is still evident in vaccine uptake, with 56 percent of Republicans saying they have either already gotten a COVID-19 vaccine or plan to get one "as soon as possible," lagging behind 89 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Independents.

When it comes to employers mandating COVID-19 vaccines, Americans are split: 51 percent said the federal government should recommend employers require vaccinations among employees, while 45 percent said it should not.

Views on vaccine mandates are sharply divided by whether someone has been vaccinated and their political party affiliation.

Two-thirds of vaccinated adults, or 68 percent, and three-fourths of Democrats, or 75 percent, said the government should recommend employer vaccine mandates, while 81 percent of unvaccinated adults and 67 percent of Republicans said the government should not make such a recommendation.

Among health care workers, the ones who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic from the beginning, they are divided half and half on the issue with 48 percent saying the federal government should recommend employers require COVID-19 vaccines for employees and 48 percent saying it should not.