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Family, Doctors Play Vital Role in Curbing Vaccine Hesitancy

July 13, 2021, 9:13 PM

Family members, friends, and local doctors are playing a significant role in persuading people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as the number of adults eager to get the jab continues to dwindle.

More than 20% of adults report that they are now vaccinated after saying in January they would either “wait and see,” only get a Covid shot if required, or would definitely not get one, according to a report released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Many of those people credited their friends and personal doctors in encouraging them to get a vaccine.

“The antidote to misinformation is trust and credibility,” Brian C. Castrucci, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, said in an interview.

Chances are more people will get vaccinated if they talk to those who they confide in everyday, he said. A celebrity or politician won’t convince them that a vaccine is effective, but their mom or sister will.

More than 90% of people who planned to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” in early 2021 have now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the KFF found. About half (54%) of those who said they’d “wait and see” also have gotten a dose.

When the KFF survey asked, “What did you learn or hear that persuaded you to get vaccinated,” the answers varied from “My husband bugged me to get it and I gave in” to “Five generations of our family are getting together in one week from now.”

Still, more than three quarters of people who previously said they’d “only get vaccinated if required” or would “definitely not” get a shot (76%) remain unvaccinated.

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Vaccine Outreach

Community outreach is crucial to vaccination efforts, Castrucci said. Physicians who are in touch with their local communities are able to maintain people’s trust enough to encourage them to get vaccinated.

More than half of unvaccinated Americans said if they had an option, they would prefer to get a Covid-19 shot from their local doctor’s office, according to a poll released in June by the African American Research Collaborative and the Commonwealth Fund.

Seeing family members and friends get vaccinated without serious adverse effects and talking to family members about their own risks were also “persuasive factors” for those who are now vaccinated, the KFF found in its latest report.

“A small but meaningful share also say the easing of restrictions for vaccinated people was a factor in their decision to get a vaccine,” the KFF said.

The most common response to how people who’ve gotten the vaccine was that they feel “safe and relieved,” the KFF said. Those people also reported feeling freedom, confidence, and more certainty that if they did get Covid-19, they would be less likely to die from it.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lesley Torres in California at ltorres@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloombergindustry.com; Alexis Kramer at akramer@bloomberglaw.com

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