Money worries are holding Americans back from getting the vaccine

Widespread immunization is key to ending the coronavirus pandemic, but a significant number of Americans are reluctant to get their vaccines - especially people with skin color - for financial reasons.
According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than a third of adults are concerned that the vaccine will have to be paid for out of pocket, even though it's free for every American. In addition, a third are worried about being out of work if the side effects make them sick, while one in six is ​​worried about taking time off to get the vaccine.
There are several reasons why people are reluctant to get a vaccine. (Graphic: KFF)
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"If you're a low-wage worker, you're far less likely to have access to paid sick days," Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), told Yahoo Money do and then potentially have side effects, economically fragile families can die. "
"It's a big problem," she added.
"Definitely a role that employers have to play here"
The addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is crucial to resolve the vaccine hesitation. With just one dose, workers don't have to worry about missing extra working days.
"The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were the two first available to people in this country, and both require two doses," said Maura Calsyn, acting vice president of health policy at the Center for American Progress. "That's two days that may be off work, two days that might be side effects. With the J&J vaccine approved by the FDA, this is very important as it is a dose that addresses the concerns potentially halved. "
People wait in line around the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to receive a coronavirus vaccine at the location that was converted into a mass vaccination center in New York City on March 2, 2021. REUTERS / Mike Segar
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There are no state requirements for paid sick leave. However, eight states and the District of Columbia have their own state-wide laws for paid family and sick leave. Some companies, like Trader Joe's and Dollar General, have offered their employees paid time off to get their vaccines. However, this is not the case with every company across the country.
“Employers definitely have a role to play here, making it clear to their employees that they should be vaccinated and that there are policies at work that say you can take paid time off to get the vaccine, but if you do get sick. Side effects of the vaccine, you can take time out, ”Liz Hamel, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Yahoo Money.
This is especially important for hourly workers, who often have low incomes and lose wages when they take time off, along with key workers, Gould said.
"It's definitely not a negligible hurdle," said Gould.
"If we want to come to a fairer result"
Sister Megan Williams will give Lestine Washington a dose of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine on March 4, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia, United States. REUTERS / Julia Rendleman
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Research has found that people of color constitute a disproportionately large number of essential workers and that they also cause a large number of deaths from COVID-19.
And while 34% of unvaccinated people are worried about being out of work due to side effects of the vaccine, that number is even higher for Black and Hispanic adults at 49%. And 45% of them are worried about having to pay for the vaccine.
"It is especially important to address some of these concerns and information needs for these populations if we are to get a fairer outcome on who is getting the vaccine," Hamel said.
Black and Hispanic adults are particularly hesitant. (Graphic: KFF)
According to Calsyn, the most important factor is education about vaccines, especially to make sure people understand they don't have to pay for the vaccine and to make sure they understand that side effects shouldn't be a deterrent. However, paid sick leave and the provision of more vaccination sites close to people's work are crucial, especially for those in communities most susceptible to COVID-19.
"It's a symbol of inequalities across the health system," Calsyn told Yahoo Money. "I hope there will be additional flexibility as to when you can get the vaccine, hopefully as the supply increases, more appointments for people, mobile clinics and the retail pharmacy program."
Adriana Belmonte is a reporter and policy editor for Yahoo Finance. You can follow her on Twitter @adrianambells and reach her at adriana@yahoofinance.com.
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