Aug 31, 2021 - Health

Google data: FDA approval nudged more vaccine interest

Google searches for "how to get covid vaccine"
Data: Google Trends; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine appeared to drive an uptick in intent about getting vaccinated, though it wasn't as impactful as the COVID-19 surge or vaccine mandates, Google Trends data suggests.

Why it matters: The FDA approval is one of the last levers the Biden administration has been hoping would prod the vaccine-hesitant.

By the numbers: U.S. searches for "how to get covid vaccine" rose 13% in the week the FDA approved the Pfizer jab, compared to the week before, according to Google Trends.

  • The searches increased 76% on Aug. 23, the day the FDA announced the decision, and peaked two days later before trending back down.

Yes, but: Google searches for getting the vaccine don't mean those users actually went to get the shot.

  • CDC data shows that the 7-day average for doses administered increased 5% that week.

The big picture: The spike was still less pronounced than the first week in August, when cases were surging and the U.S. hit a turning point with governments and employers embracing vaccine mandates.

Between the lines: The low point of Google searches to get the vaccine in late June coincided with the low watermark for new reported COVID cases in the U.S.

What's to watch: Full approval for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines could trigger future spikes, but the impact is not likely to exceed the interest that followed Pfizer's green light.

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