There’s been a measurable uptick in vaccinations in the United States in recent weeks. We’re still nowhere near the numbers of people signing up for a dose when they were first made widely available, but at this point, the government will take any good news it can get, I suppose. So what’s driving the increase? Many will likely talk about President Joe Biden’s emergency order and the state mandates that supported his position, putting millions of people’s jobs at risk. But is the fear of Big Brother’s ban hammer really the primary cause? A new survey out yesterday from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests otherwise. While fear of losing their job was cited by some, the biggest factor appears to be the marketing job that’s been done by the media, combined with people’s personal experiences, making many of them more frightened of the virus than ever. (NBC News)
The surge in Covid-19 cases due to the delta variant, reports of overburdened hospitals and having a personal connection to someone who became very ill or who died of the virus were the biggest motivators for recent vaccinations, according to a new poll.
Among adults who have received their Covid vaccinations since June 1, 39 percent cited the highly transmissible delta variant as a major reason, 38 percent cited hospitals filling up and 36 percent cited knowing someone who was seriously ill or who died, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Tuesday found.
Meanwhile, 35 percent said they wanted to participate in activities that required vaccinations, such as travel or attending events
Don’t look at the numbers in this poll as an “either or” situation because respondents were able to select as many factors as they liked, provided they saw it as a “major factor” in their decision to finally go get a shot. (You can see the full results here.) The fear of losing their livelihood didn’t come anywhere near the personal experiences people were reacting to. Just 19% listed employer mandates as the reason they rolled up their sleeves. And even fewer (15%) said they were convinced by the FDA granting full approval to the vaccines.
There was one area where the government drove vaccinations at a higher rate, but it was less about fear than annoyance. More than a third (35%) said they finally got the shot because the wouldn’t be allowed to attend public events without having proof of vaccination. That’s no way to run an airline, folks. And yes… wanting to travel by plane was part of that category of reasons.
Another sign that the government’s threats of taking away your livelihood weren’t as big of a factor as some may have guessed can be found in the sheer number of people who are simply leaving their jobs rather than complying. Just today I saw that one of the larger medical systems in upstate New York, the Mohawk Valley Health System, lost 5% of their workforce in a matter of two days. They are now sitting at an employee vacancy rate of 17.5%. The group’s CEO, Darlene Stromstad, is telling people that they may just have to wait if they are calling for medical services or perhaps just head to the emergency room.
“Please be prepared for waits, for phone calls that don’t get returned right away, for delays in service,” Stromstad said. “If you have to go to the hospital or ER, please do.”
Telling people with routine medical needs to go to the ER at a time when emergency rooms are already under a lot of pressure doesn’t sound like an ideal situation, does it? A better solution will need to be found. And since it was the government’s mandate that drove all of those healthcare workers out of their jobs (with no option for weekly testing in lieu of a vaccination), the burden should fall on the government to fix it. Best get cracking, elected officials. This ride is far from over.