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Unvaccinated Adults Are More Likely to Be Uninsured, Study Finds

June 11, 2021, 8:29 PM

U.S. adults who aren’t yet vaccinated against Covid-19 are more likely to be uninsured and have lower incomes, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation released Friday.

Among people under 65, those without insurance make up 24% of the unvaccinated population, while only 12% of people with insurance haven’t gotten the jab, according to the report. Roughly two-fifths of all unvaccinated adults (42%) report earning less than $40,000 a year.

The data show that although the federal government is making efforts to boost access to the Covid-19 vaccine for the uninsured, those people may still be hard to reach or misunderstand how the U.S. is rolling out the shots. Even though vaccines are free for everyone, one-third of survey respondents who say they’re taking a “wait and see” approach to the jab also say they’re worried about having to pay for it.

The Health Resources and Services Administration is helping people without insurance access Covid-19 treatment and vaccinations through its COVID-19 Uninsured Program, which reimburses providers at national Medicare rates for the services.

Many states, public health departments, and employers across the country are offering incentives to make those who are hesitant more eager to get a vaccine.

Incentives Might Work

The report found that 46% of those who want to “wait and see” how the vaccine works for others said they would be more likely get the shot if it was offered at a place they normally go for care. From that same group, about two-fifths said they’d be more likely get jabbed if it was required to fly on an airplane (41%) or to attend large gatherings (40%).

Many adults in the “wait and see group” and those who said they will “definitely not” get the shot are concerned about the vaccine’s safety, according to the report. Concerns differ between the groups and range from the vaccine’s impact on fertility, worries (unfounded) about having to pay for the shot, and getting the vaccine from a place they trust.

The key demographic differences between those two groups center on racial and ethnic identity, the report said.

Half of those in the “wait and see” group are people of color. Throughout the rollout, Black and Hispanic adults have reported they would “wait until it has been available for a while to see how it’s working for other people,” the KFF found.

Adults who say they will “definitely not” get a Covid shot are “overwhelmingly” White—70% compared with 49% of the “wait and see” group, according to the report.

Black and Hispanic adults lag in vaccination rates in part because of difficulty accessing vaccine locations and services. But current outreach aims to bridge the gap, the KFF said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lesley Torres in California at ltorres@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloombergindustry.com; Alexis Kramer at akramer@bloomberglaw.com

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