We’re all exhausted from all we’ve been through since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Not only have our lives literally been threatened by a virus that has been somewhat unpredictable and certainly overwhelming, but with the onslaught of media and political rhetoric, not to mention conflicting scientific messages, this pandemic has put Americans at odds with one another in unprecedented ways. No, we aren’t fighting a physical civil war with guns and gray or blue uniforms, but the “civil war” from the keyboard warrior rages at full force.
These divisions, which should have nothing to do with medical decisions, have crept into the oddest places in our lives. Of course, one of the hottest topics of debate is whether or not to get vaccinated. While the majority of the US population is embracing vaccines, a small percentage is still hesitant and it’s important that we face these hesitations with kindness and openness in order for everyone’s concerns to be heard and overcome.
US Trends in Vaccine Confidence
By political affiliation, the mainstream left is the most likely to get vaccinated at 95%, while the right is the least likely at 65%. By geographic location the breakdown is 90% for rural communities and 93% for urban. Then by race, the most likely to vaccinate are Asian-Americans at 94%, with Black/African-Americans being the least likely at 88%.
The two main causes for vaccine hesitancy are freedom of choice, and fear of side effects. The solutions to breaking down these barriers can come in the form of vaccine incentives, convenience, and positive dialogue. It’s important to resist placing blame on vaccine hesitant Americans.
Building Vaccine Confidence: Positive dialogue should highlight benefits of vaccination, but also support freedom of choice. Vaccine incentives have also shown to be effective ways to get more people vaccinated; and providing multiple, convenient locations for vaccinations makes it easier for everyone to have access to vaccinations.