A large majority of vaccinated Americans intend to get a booster shot against Covid-19, a Morning Consult poll finds, after the Biden administration recommended last week that Americans who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines should get a third dose eight months after their second shot to combat the vaccines potentially waning in their effectiveness.
The poll, conducted among 1,458 vaccinated U.S. adults, found 77% will get a Covid-19 booster shot if it’s recommended, while 12% aren’t sure and only 5% will not get the extra shot.
The poll was conducted August 19-22, after federal health officials announced August 18 that they intended to roll out booster shots starting September 20, if the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approve it.
Among a greater pool of 2,200 U.S. adults, which includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated respondents, 58% said they would get a booster shot.
Morning Consult notes the delta variant is likely a “driving force” in whether people want a booster shot, finding only 25% of adults who say they aren’t worried about the variant would get an extra dose.
A further 6% of vaccinated respondents said they had already gotten a booster shot, despite the federal government not recommending them for the general public until the fall. While this likely includes immunocompromised individuals who are now eligible for a third dose, that only accounts for an estimated 3% of the population, according to the CDC. The higher share likely reflects reports that a large number of Americans have been taking it upon themselves to get a third shot despite it not being officially advised and public health officials advising against doing so. An internal CDC document reported August 11 by ABC News found an estimated 1.1 million Americans who received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had already received an unsanctioned booster shot.
What To Watch For
Though the Biden administration has announced its intention to roll out the booster shots, the FDA and the CDC’s vaccine advisory panel still also have to approve the boosters before they can start being administered. The booster shots have so far only been recommended for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, though U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has said those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will “likely” need an extra shot as well. The surgeon general said Sunday the government was still waiting to recommend a Johnson & Johnson booster until more data became available on both a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot and whether the one-dose shot could be mixed with a booster dose of a different vaccine. Johnson & Johnson announced Wednesday results of a study that found a second shot of the company’s vaccine produced a “rapid and robust increase” in antibodies that protect against the coronavirus, potentially helping clear the way for the booster shot’s approval.
The Biden administration announced the general public should receive Covid-19 booster shots later this year less than a week after approving them for the immunocompromised, following a number of other countries including Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom and several Middle Eastern nations that had already begun administering boosters or announced plans to do so. There are fears the Covid-19 vaccines will wane in efficacy as time goes on, with federal health officials saying they approved the extra shots based on assessments that suggested the vaccines’ “current protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death could diminish in the months ahead.” Studies suggest the vaccines also have diminished effectiveness at preventing Covid-19 infections linked to the delta variant, though they so far remain protective against severe illness and death.
The World Health Organization has disapproved of wealthier countries administering booster shots while so many others still have inadequate supplies to cover even initial doses for their populations. This is both due to vaccine inequity, questions over whether booster shots are actually necessary and fears the booster campaigns could result in the emergence of “more potent variants” should the virus get “the chance to circulate in countries with low vaccination coverage,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.