How Do We Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy?
This story is a part of Science Friday’s coverage on the novel coronavirus, the agent of the disease COVID-19. Listen to experts discuss the spread, outbreak response, and treatment.
This Memorial Day weekend, many people will be traveling to the beach, hitting the road or socializing with friends—maskless—for the first time in over a year. As of this week, 50% of people over 18 are now fully vaccinated. Another 15 to 20% of people are taking a “wait and see” approach. Of those still on the fence, some are concerned about the vaccine’s side effects; others have a long standing mistrust of the institutions responsible for the vaccine rollout.
In order to fully end the pandemic, public health officials will have to find a way to get the vaccine-hesitant on board. Dr. Gary Bennett, professor of psychology and global health at Duke University sheds light on the hurdles that must be overcome.
And a new segment of the population can now receive the Pfizer vaccine: children 12 years and older, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave approval in mid-May.
But many American parents don’t want their children vaccinated at all—including for measles or the flu. One recent report from this past April showed that over 30% of parents would wait to get their child vaccinated—nearly double the percentage of adults who were hesitant. Matthew Simonson, a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University and lead author on the report, joins us to break down the numbers.
- Read more about the recent milestone that over half of adults are now fully vaccinated, via NPR.
- Read the report about vaccine hesitant parents, via Northeastern University, Harvard Medical School, and Rutgers University.