Brief #108  Health and Gender 

Many Americans Continue to Refuse the Covid Vaccine

By Siam Bhimji

June 10, 2021

Policy Summary 

Throughout 2020, there was a frantic search for medications that could end the Covid-19 pandemic which infected 6 million Americans and caused nearly 160,000 deaths, but despite extensive research, no viable drug was discovered. Scientists stated that the only way to cure the Covid-19 outbreak was by developing a vaccine. And in mid-2021, two vaccines were developed in the US which include the Moderna and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines. To achieve maximum protection from these vaccines, the recommendations are that the public receive two doses. The second shot for the Pfizer vaccine is supposed to be given 3 weeks after the first shot. For the Moderna vaccine, the second dose is at 4 weeks.

During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, millions of Americans were laid off, thousands of businesses were closed- some permanently and the entire hospitality industry including tourism was shut down and teetered on bankruptcy. And one would think that once the vaccines were developed, all Americans would be rushing to get vaccinated- the answer is that half of  Americans do not wish to be vaccinated!!!!.


As of May 2021, more than 150 million Americans have received at least one dose of the covid vaccine and close to 110 million have been fully vaccinated. But at the same time, surveys indicate that close to 50% of Americans will or have refused to be vaccinated. And some of these Americans also have family members who have acquired covid 19 in the recent past.

Further, there are already concerns that many Americans are not completing the second shot of the covid vaccine. They may have gotten the first shot to either maintain their job and/or travel and skipped the second dose. For example, data from Medicare beneficiaries reveal that the skip rate for the shingles vaccine is close to 26% and the same trend may be happening with the covid vaccines.

Why is there such a strong reluctance to take the vaccine? Two reasons; one is that most anti-vaxxers feel they are healthy and do not feel that they need the vaccine and second there is a concern that the vaccine has adverse effects that may lead to long-term complications or even death.

Are the covid vaccines safe?

There are many short-term reports on the safety of the covid vaccine. However, about 35-45 percent of individuals may experience local effects soon after the vaccine administration. These adverse effects include pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the shot. All studies reveal that these side effects resolve in a matter of days. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control has reported that more than 9,000 cases of breakthrough infections have occurred after vaccination.

Less than a dozen people have died following the covid vaccines and in some cases, this has been linked to the formation of blood clots. But a direct link to the vaccine as a cause of death is still being debated. No vaccine is 100% safe and even if ten people died out of 150 million, the risks are considered minuscule.

Engagement Resources 

CDC: Different COVID-19 Vaccines:

FDA: COVID-19 Vaccines:

Mayo Clinic: U.S. COVID-19 vaccine tracker: See your state’s progress:

HHS: COVID-19 Vaccines:

WHO: Covid 19 vaccines:

51 percent of Americans would refuse or delay COVID vaccine, survey finds.

States Where the Most People Are Refusing the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Vaccine Refusal May Put Herd Immunity At Risk, Researchers Warn.

Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking?

5 Million Americans Skipped Second COVID-19 Vaccine Shot: Why?

COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Case Investigation and Reporting.

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