April 21, 2021 – The federal government-recommended Johnson & Johnson vaccine break on April 13 has not substantially deflated confidence in COVID-19 immunization, reveals a new survey.
In fact, 76% of the 1,000 registered voters surveyed across the country said the pause did not diminish the likelihood of them getting vaccinated. Also, among those who were already vaccinated, 87% said they would “definitely” be vaccinated again if they had to do everything.
The survey also indicates that the gap with respect to vaccine acceptance narrows between Republicans and Democrats. For example, 60% of Trump voters and 72% of Biden voters agreed with this statement: “The bottom line is that COVID-19 vaccines save lives and Americans should continue to be vaccinated. as fast as possible”.
“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Kathleen Neuzil, MD, said after reviewing the results.
“In the vaccine community we understand that these rare adverse events are worrisome and terrifying. Therefore, it is a credit to the FDA and CDC, who clearly communicated the reason for the pause and the very low risk of these events,” he said. dir Neuzil. , director of the Center for Vaccine Global Development and Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
“I also credit the media with fair and objective coverage of the incident,” he added.
The FDA and CDC recommended the break after six people developed rare but serious headaches blood clots within two weeks of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. One of them died. At least two more cases are still under review.
The survey was conducted April 15-16 by Frank Luntz, PhD, for the Beaumont Foundation. Luntz is a nationally renowned political consultant and pollster who normally works for Republicans.
Just under two-thirds of respondents, 61%, believe vaccines are safe and effective. This sentiment was shared by 60% of Trump voters and 66% of Biden voters.
However, more than three out of 10 respondents, 32%, indicated that they would never get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine specifically. The breakdown was 44% of Trump voters and 18% of Biden voters. Moderna and Pfizer also have vaccines approved for use in the United States.
“These results don’t surprise me,” said James McDeavitt, MD. “There seems to be a relatively small portion of the population that opposes vaccines and they are unlikely to change their minds.”
The hesitation of most people varies across a variety of demographic factors, including ethnic background, socioeconomic status, urban and rural communities, and political affiliation, said McDeavitt, senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
“As we have more and more experience with a large number of vaccinated people, it is clear that all groups are becoming more comfortable,” he added.
Doctors play a major role
“Americans recognize the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause for what it is, a clear signal that our safety protocols work the way they are supposed to,” Brian C. Castrucci, PhD in public health and president and CEO of the Beaumont Foundation, said in a press release. “Government officials must continue to be transparent and use clear and consistent language about vaccines.”
“Communication efforts, for the most part, are working,” Luntz added in the statement. “But to reach the most hesitant populations will require doctors and public health leaders, not politicians.”
Neuzil agreed that health workers will be key to reaching the most hesitant populations. “Research on other vaccines, including flu vaccines in adults, indicates[s] that a strong recommendation from a trusted healthcare provider can overcome vaccine hesitation, ”he said.
An isolated event?
Surveyors also asked if, given the decision to pause the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, people think there will be more serious side effects than all COVID-19 vaccines.
A majority, 61%, believed the break was an isolated event. In contrast, 39% believed that “this is the first of many serious side effects we will know about.”
Surveyors also asked, given the recommended break, what people should do next.
A total of 63% responded that people should continue to be vaccinated as soon as possible with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Another 37% said they would have to wait to be vaccinated until more information is known about the side effects of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Pollsters also wondered how people perceived the decision to pause the launch of J&J.
53% believed it was a good example of the rigorous safety control of existing COVID-19 vaccines to protect Americans. Another 29% considered this to be a good example of why COVID-19 vaccines are possibly unsafe, untested, and should not be taken unless absolutely necessary. The rest of the respondents were ambivalent and chose “I really don’t care”.
“I’m excited that the audience is a lot smarter than some people assume,” McDeavitt said. “People are not overreacting to [Johnson and Johnson] news, but with many factors “.
“As we gain more experience, as we see the vaccination of friends and family and as we benefit from the benefit of vaccines[s] increasingly evident, we will see the hesitation fade, ”he predicted.
The survey has a margin of error of more / less than 3%. The 1,000 respondents included an over-sampling of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 to reflect the demographics of turnout in the 2020 presidential election.
The survey is the fourth in a series of national surveys aimed at “Changing the COVID conversation”. The surveys are designed to target the most effective public health messages during the pandemic among various populations, including black Americans, Latino communities, Republicans, rural residents, and others.