Just 23% of U.S. Adults 'Definitely' Plan to Get New COVID Shot

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Just 23% of American adults say they 'definitely' will get the new COVID-19 vaccine, while another 23% say they will 'probably' get it, according to a new poll, which also finds interest in the shot falls along partisan lines.

The poll -- by the nonprofit organization KFF -- breaks down what Americans are thinking about vaccination and their trust in public health agencies.

“The poll shows that most of the nation still trusts the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] on vaccines -- but there is a partisan gap, and most Republicans don’t trust the nation’s regulatory and scientific agencies responsible for vaccine approval and guidance,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said in an organization news release.

Interest is highest among those 65 and older (64%) and among Democrats (70%). About 24% of Republicans plan to get the shot.

Parents have some hesitation about getting the new vaccine for their kids. More than half say they "probably" or "definitely" won’t get their children boosted.

About 39% of parents plan to get their 12- to 17-year-olds boosted, as do 36% of those with 5- to 11-year-olds and 34% of those with kids between 6 months through 4 years.

The poll suggests flu shot uptake will be higher.

About 58% of adults had already received a flu shot or expected to get it. About 60% of those 60 and up said they had already received or expected to get the new RSV vaccine.

KFF surveyed nearly 1,300 U.S. adults between Sept. 6 and Sept. 13, online and by telephone. Interviews were conducted in English and in Spanish. The overall margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Even with greater interest in the flu and RSV vaccines, partisan divides were still apparent. The poll shows a 25-point gap in interest in these vaccines -- 76% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans had gotten a flu shot. For the RSV shot, the party-line gap was even higher, 38 points, among those 60 and older. It is recommended for this age group.

Confidence in safety of the vaccines follows party lines, too. Thirty-six percent of Republicans are confident the COVID vaccine is safe, compared to 84% of Democrats.

The partisan divide extends to trust in public health agencies.

About 63% of Americans say they trust the CDC, including 88% of Democrats and 40% of Republicans. Overall, 61% trust the FDA, including 86% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans.

Republican trust in local health departments is higher (51%).

KFF also saw partisan differences in perceptions of health threats, precautions like wearing masks or avoiding large public gatherings and in getting tested for COVID.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say that news of a new wave of COVID infections in the United States has prompted them to take precautions like wearing masks or avoiding large public gatherings.

Republicans are less likely than Democrats (9% versus 19%) to say they were sick recently and were tested for COVID.

About 15% of respondents said they had wanted to get a COVID test but were not able to find or afford one, including 25% of Black adults, 21% of Hispanic adults and 21% of those with household incomes under $40,000.

Higher percentages of people supported vaccination against other diseases, including 68% of all adults and 55% of parents who said healthy children should be required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella to attend public school.

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