The number of people willing to get the covid vaccine has been increasing since at least December, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
The February survey found that 55 percent of adults now say that they have either already gotten their first dose of the vaccine or plan to get it as soon as possible. This is a significant increase from January, when 47 percent of people said the same, and December, when just 34 percent did.
Meanwhile, the number of Americans who’ve adopted a “wait and see” attitude toward the vaccine has dropped, presumably in part because they have waited and seen: More than 87 million doses of the vaccine have been administered since the rollout began in December, and the side effects people have experienced—like arm soreness or fatigue—are largely mild and as expected.
CNN reports that a recent Axios-Ipsos poll shows a similar trend, with 57 percent of adults reporting that they’ve gotten the jab, or intend to. We’ve come a long way from September, when Axios-Ipsos recorded just 13 percent of respondents agreeing with this statement.
These numbers are also expected to increase as even more people get vaccinated. In a column from earlier this month, Drew Altman, the president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said we might think of the “wait and see” portion of the vaccine hesitant population as “persuadable swing voters,” who will probably come around to the idea once they see friends and family members get the vaccine. What’s more, he argued that we needn’t worry about the vaccine hesitant being a major obstacle to herd immunity—those two words every girl wants to hear, as beautiful as “cellar door.”
“Even if the vaccine resisters don’t switch–some of whom have been infected and may carry some degree of protection—it’s pretty easy to see how the country could get to 70 percent of adults vaccinated or more,” Altman wrote. “That doesn’t include kids, who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine. Once they are, we can imagine them getting vaccinated at similar or greater rates than adults ...”
It’s important to note that what CNN calls the “hardline vaccine resistant population” hasn’t budged, holding firm at around 20 percent. This is disappointing, even if it’s true that we may not need them to get the vaccine to reach herd immunity, as Altman says. And how to convince of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines—any vaccines!—remains a frustrating, much-debated problem.
Nonetheless, it’s difficult to any reaction to this news other than: Phew! It’s a great relief that more people want the vaccine, and now that Biden has promised vaccines for every adult by mid-May, it looks like they’ll be able to get it soon.