As of mid-March 2021, almost 20% of Americans had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is growing. At least 55% of Americans have already received a COVID-19 vaccine or plan to get vaccinated as soon as possible, compared to 47% in January. The positive trend is encouraging, but there are still worrisome signs.
The study finds that 22% of Americans are willing to wait to get vaccinated. Black Americans and young adults are more likely to be in the “wait and see” camp, citing the potential for serious side effects and the possibility of getting COVID-19 from the vaccine as their most common concerns. (It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you the virus.)
31-year old Kelsey Caesar originally planned on not getting it. He has since changed his mind and has received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. We talked to Kelsey about what changed his mind.
Why did you choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
I chose to get the vaccine because I want to live worry-free of getting sick again after I had COVID. (Kelsey tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020.)
Why did you initially consider not getting the vaccine?
I never got a flu shot because I’ve never got the flu. So I was thinking about sitting it out, considering I had COVID. But it was until my friend got [sick] again in January [that] I thought differently.
Were you nervous?
Not really I was ready to receive it.
Did you feel any side effects?
Yes, my side effects were light symptoms of COVID. I had chills, extremely tired, sore arm. My symptoms lasted for two days.
What would you say to people who don’t want to get the vaccine?
I would say do not listen to the misinformation. Would you rather go back into a setting where unvaccinated people are asymptomatic carriers, which opens you up to being sick and possibly dying, all because of a fear of something that has been overwhelming tested and deemed safe?
Getting informed about COVID-19 vaccines is an important step to help us stop this pandemic. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.