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In Their Own Words: What People are Saying about Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

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As the country broadens COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts, the latest research from the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor finds that side effects, including allergic reactions and long-term consequences, are the public’s top concern about getting vaccinated when asked to describe what worries them in their own words.

The latest report from the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor summarizes the public’s response to a series of open-ended questions aimed at better understanding people’s concerns around receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and the views of the messages and messengers that could affect their willingness to get one, and includes direct quotes from the more than 1,000 people interviewed.

The public’s responses suggest that hearing more information about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, and that they produce no, few or mild side effects, is likely to lead more people to be willing to get vaccinated.

What is the biggest concern you had/have, if any, about getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

“I am scared that the vaccine is not going to do my body well. I think that it will give me some problems.”
– 25 year old, female, black, Democrat, Ohio, “wait and see”

“Had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine so I am very concerned that it could happen with the COVID vaccine”
– 55 year old, female, white, Republican, health care worker, Pennsylvania, “wait and see”

“Potential side effects and no research on long term effects”
– 23 year old, female, white, independent, health care worker, Ohio, received vaccine

“I don’t believe the FDA is telling the truth. The vaccine is not ready yet and people I know who have taken it are having serious side effects and doctors are covering it up.”

– 42 year old, female, black, independent, North Carolina, “definitely not”

 

When asked to name a person who could make them more likely to get vaccinated, the most common response was friends and family, highlighting how one’s social network may affect people’s decisions.

Available through the Monitor’s online dashboard, the report includes illustrative quotes from a diverse group of people across the country with varying levels of enthusiasm for getting vaccinated.

The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor is an ongoing research project tracking the public’s attitudes and experiences with COVID-19 vaccinations. Using a combination of surveys and qualitative research, this project tracks the dynamic nature of public opinion as vaccine development and distribution unfold, including vaccine confidence and hesitancy, trusted messengers and messages, as well as the public’s experiences with vaccination.

 

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