Feb 10, 2021 - Health

Knowing someone who's been vaccinated helps reduce hesitancy

A health care worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine in the Bronx

Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Knowing someone who has been vaccinated, and seeing that the vaccine does not produce any significant adverse effects, is emerging as the leading reason people are willing to get vaccinated themselves. 

Why it matters: This means vaccine hesitancy should diminish naturally as more people are vaccinated.

By the numbers: 41% of Americans say they know someone who’s been vaccinated, and more than half of that group — 52% — say they’ll get vaccinated themselves “as soon as they can.”

  • Among people who don’t know anyone who’s gotten the vaccine so far, just 37% say they plan to get it as soon as possible.

What’s next: As broader uptake chips away at vaccine hesitancy, targeted persuasion campaigns can focus on the groups where vaccine hesitancy is likely to be the most persistent, including among Black and rural Americans.

  • And that additional outreach may be necessary — so far, high-risk and high-hesitancy groups are trailing in exposure to the vaccine.
  • In our KFF survey, 51% of white adults said they’ve either been vaccinated or know someone who has, compared to just 38% for Black Americans and 37% for Latinos.
  • Similarly, people with incomes over $90,000 per year were twice as likely as those with incomes below $40,000 to say they’ve been vaccinated or know someone who has.

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