Anticipated uptake of updated COVID vaccines divided along partisan lines: survey

A new survey released Wednesday indicates that enthusiasm and trust in the COVID-19 vaccines continues to diverge along political lines.

Joseph Choi, The Hill, Sep 27, 2023

A new survey released Wednesday indicates that enthusiasm and trust in the COVID-19 vaccines continues to diverge along political lines, with more Democrats than Republicans saying they plan to get the updated doses for this upcoming respiratory viral season.

KFF’s ongoing COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor asked participants if they intended to get the flu vaccine and the updated COVID-19 vaccine. The updated mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

About half of adults - 46 percent - said they would either “definitely” or “probably” get the new coronavirus vaccine, while another 52 percent said they would either “probably” or “definitely not” get the shot. In comparison, 58 percent of adults said they would get the annual flu shot.

When broken down across political parties, 69 percent of Democrats said they planned to get vaccinated against COVID this season, while only 25 percent of Republicans said the same. Among independents, 45 percent said they would get “definitely” or “probably” get the updated COVID-19 dose.

Split across age groups, the percentage of people who said they would get the vaccine grew as among older age groups, with roughly two out of three people over the age of 65 indicating they planned to get immunized. The majority of parents with children across all age groups said they did not plan to get their children the updated COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite how evenly divided people were on their intentions to get the COVID-19 vaccine, most people indicated they had a good understanding of how and why they can get the shot. The vast majority of survey participants - 93 percent - said they knew where to get vaccinated, and 84 percent said they knew why you should get immunized.

The majority of adults also said they were not worried about getting seriously sick from COVID-19, developing long COVID or getting seriously sick from the flu or RSV.

“Reflecting patterns seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, intended uptake is largely divided along party lines,” KFF stated. The organization noted that Republican views on the safety of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines also drove the overall view of its safety - 57 percent - to be lower when compared to vaccines for other respiratory viruses like the flu and RSV.

Enthusiasm for the new RSV vaccine, which has been approved use in adults 60-year-old and up, with 60 percent saying they planned to get it.

Trust in health officials appeared to vary based on how close they were to the participant as well as the political party they were affiliated with.

“While large majorities across partisans say they trust their own doctor or child’s pediatrician, government sources of information like the CDC, local public health departments, and the FDA fare much worse among Republicans,” the KFF survey noted.

he KFF survey was conducted from Sept. 6-13 and included a sample size of 1,296 adults. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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