Majority of Unvaccinated Americans Believe Boosters Prove COVID Vaccines Don't Work: Poll

According to a survey released Tuesday, 71 percent of unvaccinated Americans incorrectly believe booster shots are proof that COVID-19 vaccines aren't working. Meanwhile, 78 percent of vaccinated Americans said boosters show "scientists are continuing to find ways to make vaccines more effective."

The survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation also found 33 percent of all respondents said the need for boosters proves the vaccines are not working as well as promised, including 19 percent of vaccinated Americans.

J&J Vaccine
A new survey found a major of unvaccinated Americans falsely believe booster shots prove COVID vaccines are not working. This file photo shows a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department preparing a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia on March 26, 2021. Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Kaiser conducted the survey with 1,519 randomly selected adults from September 13 through September 22. This time frame was before health officials recommended boosters for people 65 and older and those at high risk of illness and after the Biden administration announced plans to start administering booster doses to all Americans.

The poll highlighted how politically divisive the issue of vaccines remains. Ninety percent of respondents who identified as Democrats said they had received at least one vaccine dose compared to 58 percent of Republicans who said the same.

Democrats were also almost twice as likely as Republicans to say they would "definitely" get a booster shot if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended it for people like them.

On September 22, the FDA authorized Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID booster shot for people 65 and older along with other high-risk Americans. Two days later, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky authorized the distribution of boosters for those in high-risk occupational and institutional settings, as well as approved recommendations that cleared the way to distribute boosters to people over 65 and other vulnerable groups.

Sixty-eight percent of Democrats said they would get the extra shot under these circumstances, while only 36 percent of Republicans said they would. Additionally, 23 percent of Republicans who are currently fully vaccinated said they probably or definitely not get a booster show even if the FDA and CDC recommended it for people like them.

Amongst respondents who are fully vaccinated, 55 percent said will definitely get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot if the FDA and CDC recommended it, and an additional 26 percent of vaccinated respondents said they probably would do so. Four percent in this group said they had already received a booster.

President Joe Biden received a booster shot on Monday. Before getting injected, he told reporters, "Boosters are important, but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated."

The Kaiser Family Foundation survey found most Americans—both vaccinated and unvaccinated—feel COVID-19 is something the nation will have to learn to live with and will not be eliminated.

Seventy-nine percent of all poll respondents agreed that COVID-19 "will continue at a lower level and be something the U.S. will learn to live with and manage with medical treatments and vaccines, like the seasonal flu." Only 14 percent said the virus "will be largely eliminated in the U.S. like polio."