Money worries are holding people back from getting the vaccine

Yahoo Finance’s Adriana Belmonte and Kristin Myers discuss findings from the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: I want to bring in Yahoo Finance's Adriana Belmonte now for a look at how people are feeling about the coronavirus vaccine. So Adriana, we had this full study that had been done from the Kaiser Family Foundation. I'm hoping to start with an overview. As vaccinations have now gotten underway, how are people feeling about the vaccine?

ADRIANA BELMONTE: So, thankfully, vaccine hesitancy has gone down a bit. 55% of Americans that were surveyed have gotten at least one dose of their shot, but there still 22% of Americans who are in what they call a wait and see mode. And they listed several reasons why. But I thought the most striking reasons were that a lot of them are worried about out-of-pocket spending or missing work. And some of this seems to be avoidable.

KRISTIN MYERS: OK, so I might be completely wrong here, but I thought that the vaccine was free of charge to folks. So what might be driving some of those money worries, at least around the vaccine? Is it all about the fact that they might miss work because of the side effects?

ADRIANA BELMONTE: Well, first of all, I want to stress to everybody who's watching, the vaccine is free. People who are worried about vaccines-- spending out of pocket on the vaccines, they probably have been misinformed. So a key thing is to make sure people are well informed on this. And in terms of missing work, people are worried about either missing work to get their vaccines or because of the side effects. So this kind of puts the pressure on employers to provide paid leave for them, rather than just let their employees get sick.

KRISTIN MYERS: Of course. Now, of course, when I think about vaccine hesitancy, I do think a lot about Black and Brown communities, communities of color that we have heard throughout this entire pandemic really having mistrust in the medical system-- well-founded fears and mistrust, I should add. How is race playing into some of what we're seeing in this study?

ADRIANA BELMONTE: So I was looking at the race breakdown here. So, 34% of all adults are worried about missing work because of side effects. However, when you break that down, 49% of Black and Hispanic adults are worried about missing work because of the side effects. And I think it's-- first of all, that's just striking in and of itself. But when you think about it, Black and Hispanics, they make up a disproportionate share of essential workers, which means they're the ones in the front lines. And yet, they're worried about having to miss work to get the vaccine, even though they're probably more at risk than a lot of other groups.

KRISTIN MYERS: And what did folks say who did get the vaccine? Did they break down that reaction on how they felt about it afterwards?

ADRIANA BELMONTE: Most people did report having some kinds of side effects. But doctors have been stressing that side effects should not be a deterrent. It's one day of having some minor symptoms versus potentially being exposed to the virus down the road. I really do want to put a focus on one thing, though. Everybody that I talked to said that this kind of stresses the need for paid sick leave. There's no federal law for paid sick leave. And only eight states and DC have their own sick leave law. So there's kind of a more of a pressure on that as well, along with employers.

KRISTIN MYERS: All right, and I know that, Adriana, that you do have a write-up of this study going at YahooFinance.com. So I do urge everyone to go to the website to read in on Adriana's reporting about how folks are feeling about the coronavirus vaccine.