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New poll shows why some adults aren’t getting the COVID booster

(ATLANTA) — About four in 10 adults say they’ve gotten the new bivalent booster or will get it as soon as they can, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor.

In the survey, 22% of adults said they have gotten the shot, while around 16% said they will soon.

The data differs slightly from the numbers provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which shows that 15.5% of adults have gotten the bivalent booster dose so far.

The findings come as the Biden administration ramps up its push to get people boosted ahead of the holiday season and winter months. In late November, officials launched six-week campaign focused on reaching seniors and communities hit hardest by the virus and making it easier to get the shot.

For adults 65 and older, who are at highest risk of COVID-19, the KFF survey found uptake is slightly higher — around 39%. And again, another 16% say they intend to get the booster soon.

But this still leaves more than half of older adults without the shot, and without any intention of getting one.

People remain unconvinced about booster’s benefits

Among people who have already gotten the original COVID vaccine series but have not rolled up their sleeves for a booster, the most common response from adults (44%) was that they don’t think they need one.

More than a third, or 37%, said they didn’t think the benefits are worth it. Another third, or 36%, said they were too busy or hadn’t had time.

About a quarter said they didn’t want to deal with bad side effects, while 17% said they were waiting to see if there would be a surge in their area first.

Why some older people, despite their higher risk, say they aren’t getting boosters

Among people 65 and older who haven’t gotten the booster, about a third of respondents said that they don’t think they need it (36%) and another third said they don’t think the benefit of the updated booster is worth it.

About a quarter said they have been too busy or have not had time to get the new booster yet.

Pandemic has negatively changed views on routine vaccines

Another key point from the December KFF polling was a growing opposition to regular vaccinations for school children, as a requirement for attending public schools.

And while the poll found that people weren’t losing trust in the vaccines — that metric has largely stayed the same over time — they felt more strongly about whether vaccines should be required or not.

The new KFF Vaccine Monitor found that nearly three in 10 adults nationwide now say that parents should be able to choose whether to vaccine their kids for measles, mumps and rubella, rather than it be required — which is up more than 10% from a 2019 poll conducted before the pandemic by Pew Research.

Among parents, opposition to requiring those childhood vaccines now stands at 35%, up from 23% in 2019, KFF found.

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