RICHMOND, Va. -- A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that nearly one-third of unvaccinated Americans would be more likely to get vaccinated for COVID-19 once the shots receive full FDA approval.
But health experts said this mentality is risky.
"The sooner you get the vaccine, the sooner you're protected," explained Cat Long, spokesperson for the Richmond-Henrico Health District.
Long said the district is ramping up education efforts and targeting underserved communities.
"The more people that are unvaccinated, the more opportunities the COVID virus has to mutate to different hosts," Long noted.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have filed for full FDA approval, but the process could take six months or longer.
Health officials said they don’t expect the vaccine’s efficacy or side effects to change much between now and then.
“When vaccines are shut down, and they are not moved through the process, that usually happens within two months," said Long. "Usually serious side effects happen within two months. So we are well past the window both in the trials and in the real-life scenarios of when people would most likely have a reaction.”
"We've talked a lot about doing fun, small incentives, like ice cream or a glass of beer, and so we've invited partners to our local businesses and private partners to partner with us," Long noted.
If health and financial incentives aren’t enough to encourage vaccinations, officials hope the freedom of going maskless and eliminating social distancing restrictions will get people in line.
Virginia health officials said the state has the vaccine supply to reach 70% of the adult population vaccinated by President Joe Biden's July 4 goal, but they need people to come out and get a shot.