According to a report that has been tracking vaccine confidence in the American population since November of 2020 through proprietary social and digital analytics and global polling. They looked at the attributes of citizens who are ambivalent about vaccination, concluding that living in a small town, having right-leaning ideologies, or being Black/African American is not the reason why they are less willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Instead, they discovered different underlying factors that are common in these groups, as for many other segments of the American population.
Vaccine confidence is holding firm: 83% of social media users have been vaccinated or report a willingness to get vaccinated and 92% believe COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Although vaccine confidence has risen to higher levels, it has reached a plateau. Approximately 10-15% of the United States population needs to change their mind in order to achieve herd immunity at 70-85%. Vaccination rates by political affiliation, geography, and race remain high with the subtle difference among segments. However, they do see a slower increase among the right-leaning political affiliation.
While most segments are willing to vaccinate, the right-leaning political affiliation is most unwilling, citing freedom of choice and side effects as their two main reasons. 16% of those with right-leaning ideologies indicate freedom of choice as their reason and 7% state the side effects. Even so, belief in vaccine safety is high among all political affiliations, as is the belief that we can achieve broad immunity. Vaccination rates by healthcare providers remain at an all-time high with strong endorsements – currently 99%.
Consumer Attributes and Vaccine Confidence
This report has researched the top consumer features associated with both vaccine confidence and ambivalence. Some of the consumer attributes associated with vaccine confidence include those who make charitable donations, invest in IRAs, save a large portion of their income, have less than four credit cards, and live in an area with a high number of individuals with STEM degrees. Top consumer attributes associated with vaccine ambivalence are those who live in an area where populations take career advancement courses, those who spend a high portion of their income on consumer goods, those who have an average education of high school or less, and those who tend to have six or more lines of credit.
Correlation doesn’t equal causation. The 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 only a slight gap remains. So, how do we close this gap? The answer is simpler than you think. Closing the gap will require vaccine incentives, increasing convenience and access, and positive dialogue.
The transition from mass vaccination sites to dose availability within local health care provider offices will increase access and convenience. Partnerships with local retailers, big-box retailers, and professional sports leagues could also make an impact. Refraining from pointing fingers at the right-leaning political party and emphasizing the personal and economic benefits of receiving the vaccine will be more successful in converting vaccine-hesitant citizens. Freedom of choice must remain paramount, but governments and companies should experiment with incentives that resonate with vaccine-hesitant individuals.