Why More Vaccine Holdouts Are Getting Shots

Ballpark officials walk by a sign advertising free COVID-19 vaccines at before a game in Rochester, New York. Photo: Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

In January, Kaiser Family Foundation interviewed a representative sample of Americans to understand the public’s possible concerns with rolling up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine. Six months later, the nonprofit followed up with survey participants on whether they got jabbed to see what moved the needle — literally.

According to the analysis released Tuesday, 21 percent of adults who ultimately opted for a shot were originally in the “wait and see” category or had even ruled out getting vaccinated altogether. Their reasons for getting the jab vary: One-quarter of those surveyed said seeing others, especially friends and family, get vaccinated without serious side effects made them decide to get vaccinated, while 8 percent chose to get inoculated due to pressure from friends and family. “Almost all of my friends were vaccinated with no side effects,” said one respondent, who said she was waiting to see how others respond to the vaccines in January. Three percent of those surveyed wanted to be able to safely visit with their friends and family members, and 11 percent said conversations with their doctors or health providers encouraging them to get vaccinated convinced them.

A small portion of those surveyed said the easing of restrictions for vaccinated people contributed to their decision to get the shot. “Hearing that the travel quarantine restrictions would be lifted for those people that are vaccinated was a major reason for my change of thought,” one respondent in the “wait and see” category said. “Also the possibility that business and other resources may be limited to non-vaccinated individuals was also a major factor.”

The share of people who are vaccine hesitant has declined since January, according to the report. That’s a trend that could continue, since those who have gotten the shot — even if initially hesitant — are more likely to try to persuade skeptical holdouts to get vaccinated.

Why More Vaccine Holdouts Are Getting Shots