The Vaccine Confidence Hack to Reaching Herd Immunity | Hacker Noon

@brianwallaceBrian Wallace

Founder @ NowSourcing. Contributor @ Hackernoon, Advisor @GoogleSmallBiz, Podcaster, infographics

While confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines has held firm in America, it is reaching a plateau.  If the US wants to reach herd immunity with 70 to 85% of their population inoculated, then between 10 and 15% of the population needs to change its mind about getting the shot. If confidence remains low in certain regions, coronavirus could continue to be a problem for years on end.

The main factor separating people who are likely to vaccinate from those who are hesitant is political affiliation. While minor differences in geography and race exist, none are as dramatic as the difference between those who identify as politically “right-leaning” and those of other affiliations.

Only 65% of right-leaning individuals are likely to vaccinate, compared with the near- or above-90% rate of other political groups.  Despite the width of the gap, it is important to note vaccine confidence among conservatives has risen in recent months, up from 41% in December 2020. 

The two main reasons vaccine holdouts cite for their hesitancy are freedom of choice and concern for side effects.

How does one encourage hesitant people to take the vaccine?  The three necessary steps are to provide incentives, ensure the convenience of receiving a shot, and maintain a positive dialogue surrounding the topic of vaccination.  When giving out incentives, it is important not to take freedom of choice away. 

Rather, governments and companies should experiment with incentives that resonate with vaccine-hesitant communities. West Virginia is a state with many conservative, elderly people who are vulnerable to coronavirus, and they are exploring financial incentives for getting the shot. On the convenience front, transitioning from mass vaccination sites to providing doses to local healthcare providers will simplify access. 

Partnerships with retailers and professional sports leagues could also have an impact.  Finally, refrain from pointing fingers at right-leaning political figures in the vaccine debate.  A better way to convince vaccine-hesitant people to get their shot would be to emphasize the personal and economic benefits vaccination can bring.

Boosting vaccine confidence benefits everyone. It should be a national priority in America.


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