President Joe Biden announced Wednesday his administration has reached its goal of administering 200 million Covid-19 vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office—but a new analysis projects the U.S. will soon have its vaccine supply outpace demand, raising new questions about those who remain hesitant about the shot and what will persuade them to get one.
- The U.S. is expected to administer at least one vaccine dose to everyone who wants one within the next 15 to 28 days (as of April 19), according to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) analysis published Tuesday.
- KFF’s polling as of March 21 found 61% of Americans are either already vaccinated or intend to get the shot as soon as they can, while 17% say they’ll wait and see and 20% will either not get vaccinated or only do it if required.
- It’s unclear what will make those still on the fence get vaccinated: According to a Harris poll released Wednesday, requiring vaccinations for travel may have some effect, with 46% of those who say they’ll get vaccinated “whenever I get around to it” responding they’d be more likely to if vaccines were required to travel domestically, and 36% said the same for international travel.
- Only 36% of those who say they’ll “wait and see” about the vaccine would be persuaded by domestic travel restrictions and 25% by international restrictions, while more than 40% of those who do not plan to get vaccinated say the restrictions would actually make them less likely to get inoculated.
- The ability to travel domestically without a negative Covid-19 test or quarantining would make 45% of those who plan to “get around to” the vaccine more likely to get the shot, as well as 29% of the “wait and see” group and 20% of those who do not plan to get vaccinated.
- Among Republicans who haven’t yet gotten the shot, former President Donald Trump could also make a difference, with a CBS News/YouGov survey in March finding that Republicans who were unsure about getting vaccinated became 15% more likely to say yes to the vaccine after finding out Trump was vaccinated and encouraged others to do the same (Trump received the vaccine in private and has encouraged his supporters to be vaccinated, but has also expressed vaccine skepticism in the past and spread conspiracy theories about Pfizer).
The White House has been ramping up its push to get more Americans vaccinated, with Biden announcing a plan Wednesday that would give businesses offering paid time off for vaccinations a tax credit and the administration launching a new “We Can Do This” campaign urging Americans to get the shot. Polling has shown that the number of Americans willing to get vaccinated has been steadily increasing throughout the pandemic, with continued holdouts citing reasons like potential side effects, the speed with which the shots were developed and a general aversion to vaccines as reasons not to get inoculated. A recent focus group of vaccine-resistant Republicans from the de Beaumont Foundation, which was reported by the Washington Post, found participants also found the possibility of having to get additional booster shots of the vaccine to be a deterrent, as well as hearing from Dr. Anthony Fauci about the vaccines, as Trump has repeatedly criticized the public health expert. KFF’s poll finds that Republicans are still the biggest group to object to the shot, with 35% saying they will not get it or will only do so if required, as compared to 8% of Democrats and 20% of Independents.
While polling shows the government’s recent decision to pause Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has had some effect on Americans’ trust in the shot and potential vaccine hesitancy, a poll conducted April 15-16 by the de Beaumont Foundation found the majority of the respondents (52.9%) viewed the decision as an indicator of the “rigorous safety monitoring” of the vaccines, while only 28.6% saw it as evidence Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe. The Republican focus group participants similarly said the pause was unlikely to make them more hesitant about getting the vaccine.
Among those who are unwilling to be vaccinated, counterfeit vaccination cards are becoming an increasing concern, with blank or fake cards being sold on sites like eBay and Etsy and state attorneys general urging platforms to crack down on their sale. Most of the focus group participants expressed a strong willingness to use fake cards to falsely claim they’d been vaccinated, the Post reports. “If I have a fake vaccine card, yeah, I can go anywhere,” one participant said.