Covid vaccines have, until now, been a precious commodity. But as more states expand who can get one, will we see those reluctant to roll up their sleeves, step not needed in line and get the shot? Or does the hesitancy they feel run deep?
Recent polls show 17% say they would either definitely or probably not get vaccinated, down from 22% in January.
“What I’m hearing in the community right down at the local barbershop, and that’s being hesitant doesn’t mean never. And being hesitant is like protection from what has happened to my community,” Dr. Steven Thomas, a professor at the University of Maryland--College Park, School of Public Health and Director for the Maryland Center for Health Equity explained on this week’s episode of Track the Vax.
“I think hesitancy needs to be contextualized. So, just to keep it simple for many African-Americans, they need look no further than the Tuskegee syphilis step…Then you have the anti-vaxxers, protesting at Dodger stadium, trying to shut down a COVID vaccine site. That’s a whole different ball game,” he said.
Contextualizing the different hesitant groups is important. So, too, is access Dr. Thomas explained, as well as trust.
“You have to make your friends before you need them,” he said. “Part of the scramble here is calling out the troops at a time when the relationships aren’t there for people to trust.”
Trust is what it ultimately comes down to for those in medical settings-- who already had the access.
“We had heard snippets of that, you know, that there were rumors that the vaccines had a microchip in them or that they caused infertility. But these issues came up in all thirty of the town hall meetings that we did,” Dr. Sarah Berry, a geriatrician and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Hebrew senior life told host Serena Marshall.
“I mean, if I heard from a trusted source that the vaccine was going to cause me to be infertile. Sterilization was the word we often heard used, you know, I wouldn't want it either,” she explained.
In this episode they also addressed:
- Major concerns that vaccine hesitant individuals have.
- How to present information for decision making over mandating.
- How mass vaccination campaigns missed the mark, by not addressing internet access.