The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor conducted interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,009 adults, using open-ended questions to better understand public concerns around receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as well as to hear from the public in their own words about the messages and messengers that could increase the likelihood of people getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

When asked to state in their own words, the public’s largest concern with getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the possible side effects, with nearly four in ten (36%) explicitly mentioning general side effects, long-term side effects, allergic reactions, or feeling ill after receiving the vaccine. This was the most common response given across key demographic groups – including some of the most vaccine hesitant populations.

Nearly half of Black adults (47%) and Hispanic adults (47%) mention side effects as their biggest concern as do a majority (55%) of those who want to “wait and see” before getting vaccinated. This “wait and see” group also includes some health care workers who say they have not yet gotten vaccinated because of concern over side effects.