To Vax or Not to Vax

It’s easy to paint the vaccine-reluctant with a broad brush. After perusing fiery takes aired across traditional and social media, you’d think that people who refuse to pledge allegiance to the vaccination effort are either the accepted-science equivalent of flat-earthers or so brainwashed by what they’ve heard in certain corners of the internet that they lack the capability for critical thought.

Reality tends to be slightly more nuanced. One friend may be fearful of needles. Another may have concerns with the pace of vaccine development. A third may have had a poor reaction to a prior vaccination.

To combat this, we need to take a few deep breaths. We need empathy. And we need credible messengers; the “person with large and vocal Twitter following” is less likely to win over the undecideds or actively skeptical than “community leader” or “friend from the barbershop.”

Unprecedented times demand unprecedented levels of understanding. Calibrate your messaging accordingly.

Select reasons from the dropdown menu to see the statistics:

Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “COVID-19 Vaccination Intent, Perceptions and Reasons for Not Vaccinating Among Groups Prioritized for Early Vaccination,” Feb. 9, 2021; September data are from IPSOS KnowledgePanel Survey, fielded Sept. 3-Oct. 1. December data are from IPSOS KnowledgePanel Omnibus Survey, fielded Dec. 18-Dec. 20 and NORC AmeriSpeak Omnibus Survey, fielded Dec. 18-Dec. 20.