Unvaccinated Americans say COVID vaccines are riskier than the virus, even as Delta surges among them
Andrew Romano·West Coast Correspondent
Tue, July 20, 2021, 5:00 PM·6 min read
When asked which poses a greater risk to their health, more unvaccinated Americans say the COVID-19 vaccines than say the virus itself, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll — a view that contradicts all available science and data and underscores the challenges that the United States will continue to face as it struggles to stop a growing “pandemic of the unvaccinated” driven by the hyper-contagious Delta variant.
The survey of 1,715 U.S. adults, which was conducted from July 13 to 15, found that just 29 percent of unvaccinated Americans believe the virus poses a greater risk to their health than the vaccines — significantly less than the number who believe the vaccines represent the greater health risk (37 percent) or say they’re not sure (34 percent).
Over the last 18 months, COVID-19 has killed more than 4.1 million people worldwide, including more than 600,000 in the U.S. At the same time, more than 2 billion people worldwide — and more than 186 million Americans — have been at least partially vaccinated against the virus, and scientists who study data on their reported side effects continue to find that the vaccines are extraordinarily safe.
A supporter of President Donald Trump on Jan. 5 holds an anti-vaccine sign at a protest at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.
A supporter of President Donald Trump on Jan. 5 holds an anti-vaccine sign at a protest at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. (Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Yet 93 percent of unvaccinated U.S. adults — the equivalent of 76 million people — say they will either “never” get vaccinated (51 percent); that they will keep waiting “to see what happens to others before deciding” (20 percent); or that they’re not sure (22 percent).
With Delta rapidly becoming dominant nationwide, U.S. COVID-19 cases have surged by 140 percent over the last two weeks. Hospitalizations and deaths — both lagging indicators — are up by one-third over the same period. Missouri, Arkansas, Nevada and Florida are being hit particularly hard, with hospitalization rates soaring to 2-3 times the national average. Nearly all of the Americans who are falling ill, getting hospitalized and dying — 99 percent, according to some estimates — are unvaccinated. And more than half the U.S. population (52 percent) has yet to be fully inoculated.
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