February 2021

The bad news, according to a UC Davis study published last week in Vaccine, is that nearly 15% of the U.S. residents surveyed said they were unlikely to, and another 23% were unsure as to whether they would, get vaccinated against COVID-19. Their primary basis for hesitation? Concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness.

The paper’s first author, Jeanette B. Ruiz, assistant professor of teaching communication, noted that “[u]nfortunately, the seemingly rushed process of the COVID-19 vaccine may have further fueled these doubts.” Robert Bell, emeritus professor of communication and a CHPR faculty member, co-authored the study.

Additional factors—such as lower level of education, lower income, relying primarily on social media or Fox News for information about COVID-19, and identifying with either the Republican or no political party—also contributed to respondents’ hesitancy about getting vaccinated.

But the good news is that Ruiz and Bell’s study also indicated that acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines was associated with having more knowledge about vaccines, and very encouraging data on the safety and effectiveness of various COVID-19 vaccines has become available since these researchers conducted their survey in June 2020. Hopefully, these safety and effectiveness data—as well as additional data being collected in conjunction with vaccination programs currently underway https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X21000141 —will help convince the hesitators out there to get vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

More information about Ruiz and Bell’s study can be found here.