75 Percent of Unvaccinated People Have This in Common, Research Shows
Many of those who haven't gotten a COVID shot are on the same page.
For a moment, it looked like the U.S. was close to ending the COVID pandemic for good. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 46 percent of those in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated, and over 54 percent have gotten at least one dose. But while this is good news, an emerging danger could increase the spread of the virus among unvaccinated people: The Delta variant is picking up speed in the U.S., and is poised to do some serious damage as it becomes the dominant strain.
A new survey from Yahoo News and YouGov analyzed how more than 1,500 U.S. adults feel about the emerging Delta variant. According to the survey, which was conducted from June 22 to June 24, 72 percent of these adults think the variant poses a serious risk, with 27 percent saying the risk targets "all Americans," and 45 percent saying the risk targets only "unvaccinated Americans."
Despite this, unvaccinated individuals have largely not been moved by the threat. According to the survey, 75 percent of unvaccinated U.S. adults say the variant has not changed their decision to not get vaccinated. Only 15 percent say the Delta variant has increased their likelihood of getting a COVID vaccine, while 10 percent say the rise in the variant has actually made them less likely to get vaccinated.
Health experts say the dangers of the Delta variant are still very real. "The transmissibility is unquestionably greater than the wild-type SARS-CoV-2, as well as the Alpha variant. It is associated with an increased disease severity, as reflected by hospitalization risk, compared to Alpha," White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, said during a June 22 briefing.
According to Fauci, cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have doubled in the last two weeks, which means we're following a similar trajectory to the U.K. In that country, there have been more than 33,000 new COVID cases caused by the Delta variant since February, per data from Public Health England released June 11. Out of of these cases, most were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated. Only about 5 percent of people who caught the Delta variant were fully vaccinated.
But unvaccinated individuals don't even appear to be phased by spikes in hospitalization or infections. According to the survey, 60 percent say they are still not likely to change their minds about vaccination, even if COVID cases start to rise in their area. Only 19 percent say this would incentivize them to change their mind.
There are many reasons people have for avoiding vaccination. Around 51 percent of unvaccinated individuals say they refuse to get vaccinated because they "don't trust the COVID-19 vaccines," despite the accumulation of safety and efficacy data surrounding the shots.
No other reason for refusing vaccination was as high. Only 5 percent said they weren't getting vaccinated due to lack of "easy access to vaccination," while 3 percent said they weren't because of the difficulty of securing "time off from work," and 6 percent said it was because they had already had COVID. Finally, 12 percent said they were "not worried about getting" COVID.
Experts urge unvaccinated individuals to think differently. "Similar to the situation in the U.K., the Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19," Fauci said. The good news, he noted, is that "our vaccines are effective against the Delta variant … We have the tools, so let's use them and crush the outbreak."