May 3, 2021 - Health

There's not just one kind of vaccine hesitancy

Breaking down vaccine hesitancy
Data: The Harris Poll; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Around 10% of Americans aren't very eager to get the vaccine, but they're not really hesitant either — they're just waiting to get it until they get around to it, according to new Harris polling.

Why it matters: Making vaccination more convenient will be a big part of the difficult process of getting more shots in arms, now that many of the most eager Americans have gotten their shots.

The big picture: As of late April, 43% of respondents said they'd already gotten a shot and another 12% said they plan to go to get one the first day they're able to.

  • 10% said they'll get the vaccine whenever they get around to it, and 21% said they will wait awhile and see before getting the vaccine.
  • 14% of respondents said they won't get a vaccine — virtually unchanged since January.

In the real world, about 56% of U.S. adults had received at least one shot as of Saturday, per the CDC, suggesting that we're getting very close to the end of the "vaccine eager" population.

What they're saying: “As those Americans most eager to get the vaccine have now been able to do so, the hard part of earning the trust of those with hesitations or who don’t view it as a top priority begins," said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll.

Between the lines: Young adults are most likely to say they'll get the vaccine whenever they get around to it, or want to wait and see before getting it.

  • Black respondents were also particularly likely to say they want to wait and see before getting a shot.

What we're watching: Making the shots convenient is one of the best ways to reach those who say they'll get it whenever they get around to it, Johns Hopkins' Tara Kirk Sell said.

  • "This is actually a very manageable issue. We have people who are willing to get the vaccine, we just have to get it to them," she said. "I think this is a group that is a prime target for the next stage of vaccination."
  • Making vaccines available at workplaces, local pharmacies, and via mobile clinics can help this group, she said.
  • On the other hand, people who want to wait and see generally don't yet trust the vaccines. Messengers like their doctor or their church (which may also be convenient) could be helpful for persuading this group.

The bottom line: "Now we’re getting to people you’ve got to work harder to get to. You’ve either got to convince them…or you’ve got to get [the vaccine] to a place that’s more convenient to them," Kirk Sell said.

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