Older American adults who are fully vaccinated are more concerned about COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated, according to a poll released Wednesday by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll found that about 25 percent of vaccinated adults aged 50 and older said they are not worried about either them or a family member becoming infected with COVID-19. In comparison, 61 percent of unvaccinated Americans aged 50 and older said they aren’t worried.
“Vaccination is not providing people with relief,” AP-NORC said. “Those who are vaccinated are more worried about infection from the virus, are more likely to practice social distancing, and are more likely to describe their mental health as worse than last year compared to those who are not vaccinated.”
Overall, 1 in 3 American adults aged 50 and older have reported feeling socially isolated at least sometimes, the poll found, and 1 in 4 have said their relationships and social lives have worsened over the past year.
Due to isolation, older adults are more often using social media and video chat services since before the pandemic started, according to the survey.
“Visiting with friends and family in person, doing volunteer work, attending religious services, and talking with neighbors have declined,” it found.
The AP quoted 73-year-old Oliver Midgette, who is not vaccinated, as saying that he rarely uses a mask and doesn’t allow COVID-19 to worry him.
“I grew up in the old days. I ate dirt. I drank water from a hose. I played outside. I don’t live in a cage right now,” he told AP.
Lee Sharp, a 54-year-old information technology consultant who was seriously sick from the virus last year, told the news outlet that he wanted to get the vaccine but decided not to because of the forcefulness in which the vaccines were pushed.
“As time has passed, I have less and less and less trust. ‘Masks don’t do anything!’ ‘Masks do something!’ ‘You need two masks!’ ‘No, you need four masks!’ ‘You need disposable masks!’ ‘No, cloth masks are OK!’” he said. “What the heck?”
And Bronwyn Russell, 58, said she received the vaccine but always wears a mask when she leaves her home in Illinois.
“I’m worried. I don’t want to get sick,” said Russell, who said she is searching for part-time work while collecting disability benefits before appearing to cast blame on those who are not worried about the virus. “The people who are going about their lives are just in their own little bubbles of selfishness and don’t believe in facts.”
Meanwhile, a poll released by Gallup this week suggests that most Americans vastly overestimate the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 among those who are unvaccinated. Citing federal health data and accounting for different scenarios, the pollster said that it concluded that the hospitalization-to-case ratio is fewer than 1 percent for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals.
However, it found that around 92 percent of all Americans “overstate the risk that unvaccinated people will be hospitalized” while 62 percent overstated the risk for vaccinated individuals, according to a blog post. About 41 percent of Democrat voters thought there is a 50 percent chance that an unvaccinated individual would be hospitalized for COVID-19.
“Democrats are more likely to overstate hospitalization risks for unvaccinated people, which may fuel efforts, often led by Democratic Party leaders, to enforce both mask and vaccine mandates,” Gallup concluded, in part.
The AP-NORC poll surveyed 1,000 people aged 50 or older and reported a margin of error of about 4 percentage points.