Real Chemistry has been tracking vaccine confidence in the United States population since November 2020. Vaccine confidence has been rising, but it has reached a plateau. To achieve herd immunity at 70-85% of the population, approximately 10-15% of individuals need to change their minds. Looking at the attributes of Americans who are ambivalent about the vaccination shows that living in a small town, having right-leaning ideologies, or being Black/African American is not the reason why these groups are less willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. They have discovered different factors that are common in these three groups, as for many other segments of the American population.
Real Chemistry’s research shows that race, geography, and political affiliation are not demographic characteristics determining who is willing to vaccinate, except for the right-leaning political group, where a slight gap remains. Vaccination rates by political affiliation, geography, and race remain high with a subtle difference among segments; however, there is a slow increase among the right-leaning political affiliation. While most segments are willing to vaccinate, the right-leaning political affiliation is most hesitant, citing freedom of choice and side effects as their reasons not to receive the vaccination. Even so, belief in vaccine safety is high among all political affiliations, as is the belief that we can achieve broad immunity.
Closing the gap will require three things: vaccine incentives, convenience, and positive dialogue. Freedom of choice must remain paramount, but governments and businesses should experiment with different incentives that resonate with vaccine-hesitant citizens. The transition from mass vaccination sites to dose availability within local health care provider offices and clinics will provide greater access and convenience. Partnerships with local retailers could also make an impact. Refraining from pointing fingers at the right-leaning political party and emphasizing the personal and economic benefits and reinforcing freedom of choice will be more successful in converting vaccine-hesitant citizens. We’ll be in this fight as long as it takes because making the world a healthier place is essential.