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Delta variant fears, crammed hospitals drove recent uptick in vaccination rate, poll finds

Knowing someone who became seriously ill or who died of Covid was another major reason cited, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
Image: Covid Vaccine
A health care worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Key Biscayne Community Center in Key Biscayne, Fla., on Aug. 24.Eva Marie Uzcategui / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

The surge in Covid-19 cases due to the delta variant, reports of overburdened hospitals and having a personal connection to someone who became very ill or who died of the virus were the biggest motivators for recent vaccinations, according to a new poll.

Among adults who have received their Covid vaccinations since June 1, 39 percent cited the highly transmissible delta variant as a major reason, 38 percent cited hospitals filling up and 36 percent cited knowing someone who was seriously ill or who died, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Tuesday found.

Meanwhile, 35 percent said they wanted to participate in activities that required vaccinations, such as travel or attending events, while 19 percent said employer mandates were major factors in their decision to get the shot. Just 15 percent said the Food and Drug Administration granting full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, one of the Covid vaccines available in the United States, in August for individuals ages 16 and older played a part.

“Nothing motivates people to get vaccinated quite like the impact of seeing a family member, friend or neighbor die or become seriously ill with Covid-19, or to worry that your hospital might not be able to save your life if you need it,” Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman said in a press release. “When a theoretical threat becomes a clear and present danger, people are more likely to act to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll, of more than 1,500 adults, was conducted from Sept. 13-22. It found that the largest remaining gap between the vaccinated and unvaccinated was along political party lines, with 90 percent of Democrats reporting they had received at least one dose, compared to 58 percent of Republicans. Sixty-eight percent of independents said they were at least partially vaccinated.

Seventy-two percent of adults in the poll reported they were at least partially vaccinated, up from 67 percent of adults who were polled in late July. Self-reported vaccination rates increased the most for Latino adults, and among adults ages 18-29, Kaiser Family Foundation said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 77.1 percent of adults in the U.S. have now received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.