Covid Live Updates: Fear of Delta Is Motivating Americans to Get Shots More Than


ImageAdministering a shot at a community vaccination and testing site in San Francisco last month.
Credit…Mike Kai Chen for The New York Times

The Delta variant of the coronavirus was the leading reason that people decided to get vaccinated against Covid-19 this summer and why most say they will get boosters when eligible, according to the latest monthly survey on vaccine attitudes by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released on Tuesday morning. But the survey indicated that nearly three-quarters of unvaccinated Americans view boosters very differently, saying that the need for them shows that the vaccines are not working.

That divide suggests that while it may be relatively easy to persuade vaccinated people to line up for an additional shot, the need for boosters may complicate public health officials’ efforts to persuade the remaining unvaccinated people to get their initial one.

Another takeaway from the Kaiser Family Foundation survey: For all the carrots dangled to induce hesitant people to get Covid shots — cash, doughnuts, racetrack privileges — more credit for the recent rise in vaccination goes to the stick. Almost 40 percent of newly inoculated people said that they had sought the vaccines because of the increase in Covid cases, and more than a third said that they had become alarmed by overcrowding in local hospitals and rising death rates.

“When a theoretical threat becomes a clear and present danger, people are more likely to act to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Drew Altman, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s chief executive.

The nationally representative survey of 1,519 people was conducted from Sept. 13-22 — during a time of surging Covid deaths, but before the government authorized boosters for millions of high-risk people who had received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, including those 65 and over and adults of any age whose job puts them at high risk of infection.

Sweeteners did have some role in getting shots in arms. One-third of respondents said that they had gotten vaccinated to travel or attend events where the shots were required.

Two reasons often cited as important for motivating those hesitant to get a vaccine — employer mandates (about 20 percent) and full federal approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (15 percent) — carried less sway.

Seventy-two percent of adults in the survey said that they were at least partly vaccinated, up from 67 percent in late July. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are even higher, reporting 77 percent of the adult population in the United States with at least one shot. The sharpest change in this month was in vaccination rates for Latinos: a jump of 12 percentage points since late July, to 73 percent, in the number of Latino adults who had received at least one shot.

With the vaccination racial gap narrowing, the political divide has, by far, become the widest, with 90 percent of Democrats saying that they have gotten at least one dose, compared with 58 percent of Republicans.

Perhaps reflecting pandemic fatigue, about eight in 10 adults said that they believed Covid was now a permanent fixture of the health landscape. Just 14 percent said that they thought “it will be largely eliminated in the U.S., like polio.”

Credit…Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Tuesday that they had submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration that the companies said showed their coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11.

The companies said they would submit a formal request to regulators to allow a pediatric dose of their vaccine to be administered in the United States in the coming weeks. Similar requests will be filed with European regulators and in other countries.

The announcement, coming as U.S. schools have resumed amid a ferocious wave of the highly contagious Delta variant, brings many parents another step closer to the likelihood of a coronavirus vaccine for their children.

Asked on Tuesday when the vaccine might be cleared for children, Pfizer’s chief executive, Dr. Albert Bourla, said he did not want to pre-empt regulators.

“It’s not appropriate for me to comment how long F.D.A. would take to review the data,” Dr. Bourla said in an appearance at the Atlantic Festival, hosted by The Atlantic magazine. “They should take as much time as they think is appropriate for them.” He added that an authorization around Halloween, as some health officials have suggested could be possible, was “one of the options, and it’s up to the F.D.A.”

Just over a week ago, Pfizer and BioNTech announced favorable results from their clinical trial with more than 2,200 participants in that age group. The F.D.A. has said it will analyze the data as soon as possible. Dr. Peter Marks, the agency’s top vaccine regulator, said recently that barring “surprises,” an authorization could come in “a matter of weeks, not months” after the companies submitted data.

The companies said last week that their vaccine had been shown to be safe and effective in low doses in children ages 5 to 11, offering hope to parents in the United States who are worried that a return to in-person schooling has put children at risk of infection.

About 28 million children ages 5 to 11 would be eligible for the vaccine in the United States, far more than the 17 million of ages 12 to 15 who became eligible for the vaccine in May.

But it is not clear how many in the younger cohort will be vaccinated. Inoculations among older children have lagged: Only about 42 percent of children ages 12 to 15 have been fully vaccinated in the United States, compared with 66 percent of adults, according to federal data.

Credit…James Estrin/The New York Times

New York State’s pioneering effort to force health care workers to receive coronavirus vaccines appears to have pressured thousands of holdouts to receive last-minute shots, though hospitals and nursing homes continue to brace for potential staffing shortages should the mandate fall short, according to state and industry officials.

As the vaccination mandate went into full effect just after midnight on Monday, 92 percent of the state’s 600,000 hospital and nursing home workers had received at least one vaccine dose, state officials said.

The significant increase in the days before the deadline — just 84 percent of the state’s nursing home workers, for example, had received a vaccine dose as of five days ago — propelled New York’s health care workers into the highest tiers of vaccination rates among those workers nationally, and served as a positive sign that President Biden’s planned federal vaccination mandate for most health care workers might also buoy rates nationwide.

At the same time, at least eight lawsuits and several angry protests against mandates in New York served as a reminder that thousands of health care workers would likely resign or choose to be fired rather than get vaccinated.

Many hospitals and nursing homes were facing staffing shortages before the mandate took effect, for reasons including pandemic-related burnout and the high pay being offered to traveling nurses, meaning even minor staff losses because of vaccine resistance could put some patients at risk.

As a result, many health care facilities have braced themselves by activating emergency staffing plans, calling in volunteers and moving personnel to cover shifts.

Implementing the mandate has become a major test for Gov. Kathy Hochul, who took office in August and has made fighting Covid a top priority.

The governor declared a state of emergency late Monday night that will allow her to use the National Guard to fill staffing shortages at hospital and nursing homes if needed. She has also opened a crisis operations center for health care facilities to request help and waived licensing requirements to allow nurses and other health care workers from other states and countries to help out in New York.

“I‘m using the full power of the state of New York to ensure that we do everything to protect people,” Ms. Hochul said on Monday. “This is…


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