Most unvaccinated Americans unlikely to get COVID-19 shots, new AP poll finds

Coronavirus
syringe with COVID-19 vaccine

A doctor fills a syringe with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, file)

NEW YORK — A new poll shows that most Americans who haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 say they are unlikely to get the shots. About 16% say they probably will get the vaccine.

Most also doubt they would work against the aggressive delta variant, despite evidence they do. Those findings underscore the challenges facing public health officials as soaring infections in some states threaten to overwhelm hospitals.

The poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 35% of adults who have not yet received a vaccine say they probably will not, and 45% say they definitely will not.

That means “that there will be more preventable cases, more preventable hospitalizations and more preventable deaths,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 3% of unvaccinated Americans say they definitely will get the shots, though another 16% say they probably will. Some 37% of those under age 45 say they haven’t and likely won’t get the shots. Those without college degrees compared to those who graduated say they aren’t and won’t be vaccinated, 30% to 18%.

Nationally, 56.4% of all Americans, including children, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC. Vaccinations are starting to increase in some lagging states where cases are rising — Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and Nevada.

“What I learned from my patients is that when a loved one dies, that’s a tragedy,” says Dr. Howard Koh, a professor at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. “But when a loved one dies and you know it could have been prevented, that tragedy haunts you forever.”

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