Yeah…. It’s an opinion piece, but……..
Fuck the New York Times!
By Sema Sgaier
Getting everyone vaccinated in the United States has become much harder now that demand for the Covid-19 vaccine is flagging. America’s vaccination strategy needs to change to address this, and it starts with understanding the specific reasons people have not been vaccinated yet.
The conventional approach to understanding whether someone will get vaccinated is asking people how likely they are to get the vaccine and then building a demographic profile based on their answers: Black, white, Latinx, Republican, Democrat. But this process isn’t enough: Just knowing that Republicans are less likely to get vaccinated doesn’t tell us how to get them vaccinated. It’s more important to understand why people are still holding out, where those people live and how to reach them.
In the United States overall…
8% are Watchful. They’re waiting to see what happens next.
9% are Cost-Anxious. They want the vaccine but can’t afford the time or cost.
4% are System Distrusters. They feel the health care system doesn’t treat them fairly.
14% are Covid Skeptics. They don’t believe the threat.
After conducting a national survey of U.S. adults, we grouped people into distinct profiles based on their shared beliefs and barriers to getting the vaccine. This approach, borrowed from the marketing world, is called psychobehavioral segmentation. It will allow health officials to target their strategies in ways that ignore demographic categories, like age and race. In the United States, we used this approach to identify five distinct personas: the Enthusiasts, the Watchful, the Cost-Anxious, the System Distrusters and the Covid Skeptics.
People in each segment share some beliefs and barriers about Covid-19 vaccination. And each persona includes at least some of every demographic: Republicans, Black people, the middle class, young people and others.
Here are the groups health officials need to reach — and how to reach them, based on their fears, concerns and barriers.
Covid Skeptics are at the far end of the spectrum as the least likely to get vaccinated. The primary barrier for people in this group are their specific, deeply held beliefs about Covid-19. Everyone in this group believes at least one conspiracy theory related to the pandemic, whether it’s that microchips are implanted with the Covid vaccine; Covid-19 has been exploited by the government to control people; or that the pandemic was caused by a ring of people who secretly manipulate world events.
We found Covid Skeptics are common in Arkansas, North Dakota and Nevada. Considering that 84 percent of this group believe that the government is exploiting Covid-19 to control people, leaders of vaccination campaigns should consider tapping nonpolitical figures to mobilize this group. Doctors are trusted by 50 percent of this group, while scientists are trusted by 32 percent. They could also use religious leaders, who may resonate best with 9 percent of group members who say the vaccine goes against their religious beliefs.
The key to engaging this group will be to avoid trying to debunk what they believe; rather, experts need to listen, acknowledge how they feel and then share the facts. Our research finds that emphasizing that vaccination is their own, personal choice — one that can help them protect friends and family members — can also work.
The System Distrusters believe that the health care system doesn’t treat them fairly. Most, but not all, members of this group are people of color, and they prevail in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Georgia.
It will be important for public health officials to hold conversations — formal or informal — with trusted members of their own communities to air concerns and be transparent about efforts to vaccinate underserved communities. People in this group have low expectations that other members of their communities will get vaccinated, so making vaccinations of people they know as visible as possible will be important. Tracking and illuminating efforts to ensure the vaccine rollout is equitable and sharing that with the community is key.
The Watchful are holding out to see what kind of experience their friends or neighbors have with the vaccine before committing themselves. They dominate in Delaware, making up 17 percent of the state’s population, as well as 12 percent in Hawaii and Rhode Island.
Behavioral science researchers know that establishing norms can lead to acceptance of products and could help persuade the Watchful. Encouraging those who are vaccinated to show their vaccination status with pride, both online and offline, can nudge their family, friends and networks to follow suit. The Watchful are already likely to wear masks, showing an intent to comply with social norms, so they may respond to similar altruistic messages about vaccination and get vaccinated to protect others.
For this group, experts should consider allowing for a “vaccinate later” option. Behavioral science suggests that people prefer moderate or “compromise” options over their extreme counterparts. Being able to opt-in to vaccines down the road may provide a comfortable alternative for this group.
Breakdown by state
Note: Breakdowns exclude “Enthusiasts” and “Vaccinated.”
With only 60 percent of U.S. adults having received their first shot, we are still far from President Biden’s target of 70 percent by the Fourth of July. This national average also hides an important truth: The country is a patchwork, with states like Vermont tracking higher (with 78 percent of adults having received their first dose) and states like Mississippi tracking lower (42 percent of adults). Therefore, we can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach.
President Biden’s aggressive Fourth of July goal will be tough to meet without understanding what drives lower vaccine confidence and where various strategies to combat it will be most effective. And we can’t stop at the state level; we need to go county by county and ZIP code by ZIP code, offering specific, localized solutions to convince the holdouts. It will also be important that everyone — not just the health care professionals and the politicians — do their part. It won’t be easy, but it must be done to ensure that more people get vaccinated.
Whatever happened to ‘My body, my choice’?
Fuck each and every damned one of these vaccine vipers!