San Francisco—Pharmacists are aware of a recent uptick in COVID-19 vaccinations recently. The latest KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor sought to determine why that has occurred.

The survey focused on people who received the vaccine since June 1 and asked about the role of various factors in motivating the recently vaccinated, including the emergence of the Delta variant, full approval to the Pfizer vaccine by the FDA, and an increase in vaccine mandates.

“We find that the rise of Delta and associated hospitalizations and deaths were the biggest motivating factor overall, while vaccine mandates and FDA approval played a more minor role,” the authors report.

The foundation advised that more than one-third of those recently vaccinated responded that the increase in cases due to the Delta variant (39%), reports of local hospitals filling with COVID-19 patients (38%), and knowing someone who became seriously ill or died from the disease (36%) influenced them to be vaccinated. Overall, 35% said one of those factors was the chief reason they received a shot.

The survey found that other respondents were motivated by mandates of various types; one-third (35%) said a major reason for getting vaccinated was to participate in certain activities that required it, such as traveling or attending events. Just one in five (19%) said a major reason was that their employer required it.

The FDA granting full approval to the Pfizer vaccine was a major factor in their decision for 15% of those vaccinated since June, although just 2% of the recently vaccinated choose it as their main reason.

Other reasons include: 19% of the recently vaccinated say social pressure from family and friends and financial incentive from an employee for 5%.

“Further supporting the idea that increased cases and deaths due to the Delta variant were a major motivating factor for the recently vaccinated, we find that among vaccinated adults, those living in counties with high COVID-19 caseloads and deaths are more likely to say they got their vaccine after June 1 compared to those living in counties with lower caseloads and deaths,” the authors wrote. “While overall vaccination rates in counties with high case counts lag somewhat behind those in areas with lower case counts, 24% of vaccinated adults in high caseload counties say they received their first dose after June 1 compared to 15% in counties with lower case counts.”

They add, “Similarly, 23% of vaccinated adults in counties where the recent COVID-19 death rate is above the national average say they got their vaccine after June 1 compared to 14% of vaccinated adults in counties with the lowest recent death rates.”

The latest survey found that more than seven in 10 U.S. adults (72%) now report being at least partially vaccinated. The largest increases in vaccine uptake between July and September were among Hispanic adults and those ages 18 to 29 years, and similar shares of adults now report being vaccinated across racial and ethnic groups—71% of White adults, 70% of Black adults, and 73% of Hispanic adults. The authors note, however, that vaccine uptake varies significantly by partisanship, education level, age, and health insurance status.

This KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, which was designed and analyzed by public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), was conducted from September 13 to September 22, 2021. It involved a nationally representative random digit dial telephone sample of 1,519 adults ages 18 years and older (including interviews from 339 Hispanic adults and 306 non-Hispanic Black adults), living in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii.

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