KFF survey: Majority of unvaccinated adults think shot is riskier than contracting COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccine
A new survey found that a majority of unvaccinated adults believe that it is riskier to their health to get the vaccine than to get COVID-19. (Getty/Hector Pertuz)

Most unvaccinated U.S. adults don’t see COVID-19 vaccines as effective and believe getting the shot is a bigger risk than the virus itself, a new survey found.

However, the survey, released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that a quarter of unvaccinated adults say it is likely they will get the shot by the end of the year as the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus has caused surges in hospitalizations across the country.

“Seeing their friends get sick and local hospitals fill up again with COVID patients may speed them along and add to their ranks,” said KFF President and CEO Drew Altman in a release.

The monthly vaccine monitor survey found that two-thirds of adults reported being vaccinated in July, which didn’t change much compared to June.

Kaiser surveyed 1,517 adults last month and found that 482 have not gotten the vaccine.

RELATED: Survey finds vaccine hesitancy among rural healthcare workers

Of the unvaccinated adults, 53% said that getting the shot was a bigger risk to their health compared to 34% who said getting the virus was a bigger risk.

Among the vaccinated surveyed, 88% said that becoming infected was a bigger risk.

A smaller percentage of those who want to wait and see about the vaccine (34%) say getting the shot is a bigger risk while 50% said contracting the virus is.

The survey was fielded from July 15-27 as the delta variant started to surge cases across the country.

Only 23% of unvaccinated adults believe that vaccines are extremely or very effective at preventing death and 21% believe they can prevent serious illness or hospitalization.

“Most (57%) unvaccinated adults also say that the news generally has ‘generally exaggerated’ the seriousness of the pandemic, while three-fourths of vaccinated adults say the news has been ‘generally correct (53%) or has ‘underestimated’ its seriousness (24%),” a release on the survey said.

The survey also gauges whether people would get vaccinated if required under a mandate.

More and more health systems are installing vaccine mandates, and some larger companies are also imposing mandates.

Only 3% of the unvaccinated surveyed said that they would only get the shot if they were required to do so for work or school or other activities. Another 14% said they are going to “definitely not” get the vaccine.

“The size of the ‘definitely not’ group has not changed significantly since KFF started tracking people’s intentions in December,” Kaiser said in a release.

The survey comes as the Biden administration is ramping up its efforts to get reluctant Americans vaccinated, including giving funding to rural and underserved areas to help boost outreach and education.