COVID vaccines in the United States began rolling out in December to a small group of people, but now anyone over 12 can be vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 53% of the total United States population has received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. But, whether for reasons of the speed at which they have developed, for religious or political reasons, many people have chosen not to be vaccinated. Now, a new survey shows that half of people who haven’t received their COVID vaccine have something in common.
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A team from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted online and telephone interviews with 1,125 American adults. Researchers have found that among those who are not yet vaccinated, nearly half will never receive their COVID vaccines. According to the poll, 46% of unvaccinated people say they “will definitely not be vaccinated,” while 29% say they likely will not be vaccinated. Of those who will definitely not get the vaccine, 75% say they have “little or no concern” about the COVID infection.
But the data shows there may be cause for concern. A recent study found that unvaccinated people were much more likely to be hospitalized for COVID in 2021. The study, which was conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, found that 99% of patients hospitalized with COVID in the four first few months of the year were not fully vaccinated.
Since the CDC changed its masking guidelines in mid-May, allowing fully vaccinated people to go indoors without a face covering, many companies have relied on the honor system, creating the potential for some unvaccinated people or those who have only received one injection potentially also give up their masks. A study on the subject, published in March 2021 in the journal Social Sciences and Medicine before the CDC changed its recommendations, found that 26% of unvaccinated respondents had no intention of wearing a mask indoors.
“If you’re vaccinated, you’re protected,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during a White House press briefing in May. “If you are not vaccinated, our advice has not changed for you. You remain at risk of infection. You should always mask yourself and take other precautions.”
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The results of the AP-NORC poll also showed that only 7 percent of those who have not been vaccinated say they will definitely receive a COVID vaccine at some point, and 15 percent say they likely will. This group is the one that doctors and public health experts have tried to reach. Another recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released in late May, found that 44% of unvaccinated people in the United States in the “wait and see” group would be more likely to be vaccinated against COVID if the US Food and The Drug Administration (FDA) has fully approved the vaccine.
The FDA granted Emergency Use Clearance (EUA) for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in late 2020 and early 2021. Pfizer and Moderna have since filed for full approval with the FDA, which requires at least six months. vaccine safety and efficacy data. As the first vaccine granted to the EUA, Pfizer submitted its application to the FDA for full approval in early May, and Moderna followed a month later. According to The New York Times, the approval process for these requests could take months.
However, experts note that the longer people wait to be vaccinated, the more likely it is for the virus to mutate and spread. This week, for example, the CDC named the delta variant, B.1.617.2., As worrying variant, noting “that there is evidence that this variant spreads easily from person to person”. In the wake of the announcement, Walensky again urged the public to get vaccinated, saying “vaccination is our ticket OUT of this pandemic.”
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