LOS ANGELES - A recent Harris poll found that half of vaccinated Americans might think twice before spending the holidays with their family and friends who still haven't gotten their shots.
The poll asked 2,055 U.S. adults between September 17 to September 19, including 1,454 who are currently vaccinated for the novel coronavirus.
50% of vaccinated respondents said they are either "extremely" or "considerably" hesitant to spend the holidays with unvaccinated family members or friends.
A third of respondents said they would actually go so far as to uninvite family or friends who would refuse to take health precautions.
42% of respondents said they actually have canceled "at least one event or existing travel plan" with someone because that person was not vaccinated.
"Our new data suggests the vaccine divide is not only reshaping relationships, but soon the holiday travel season," Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema said, noting vaccinated Americans are "placing stricter boundaries around who they choose to spend time with. So expect to see cancellations and rerouted plans as vaccinated Americans avoid their unvaccinated friends and family."
The poll follows new federal rules announced Monday which require all foreign travelers flying to the U.S. to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Unvaccinated American citizens will need to be tested within a day before returning to the U.S., as well as after they arrive home.
Medical experts are stressing the need to continue vaccination efforts for fear of a surge brought by the upcoming Winter season. However, it will be less deadly than last year’s, according to one influential model. The University of Washington model projects an additional 100,000 or so Americans will die of COVID-19 by Jan. 1, which would bring the overall U.S. toll to 776,000.
Speaking last month following the federal approval of Pfizer’s vaccine and other COVID-19 shots by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told FOX News that the majority of people currently getting hospitalized for COVID-19 are those who are stalling on getting their shots.
While vaccine administration rates stalled in July, the number has increased in recent days — with a million a day given last month. Murthy called the uptick in vaccines "encouraging" but called on those who have not yet gotten their shot to do so amid the ongoing spread of the more contagious strain of the virus.
"The vast majority of people who are ending up in the hospital and who are losing their lives to this illness are those who are unvaccinated, which means that the vaccinations are doing their job to keep people out of the hospital and to save lives," Murthy told FOX News.
Travel has increased compared to the previous year when the pandemic shut down much of the world. Yet, the pandemic still has the United States and other parts of the world firmly in its jaws.
The delta-fueled surge in new infections may have peaked, but U.S. deaths still are running at over 1,900 a day on average, the highest level since early March, and the country’s overall toll stood at close to 674,000 as of Monday morning, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, though the real number is believed to be higher.
COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000. And like the worldwide scourge of a century ago, the coronavirus may never entirely disappear from our midst.