Friends, Family Key to Turning a ‘No’ on Vaccination to a ‘Yes’

By Dennis Thompson
Health Day reporter

FRIDAY July 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Public health officials and officials are doing all they can to promote the COVID-19 vaccination – advertisements, press releases, cash lotteries and even incentives like free beer , joints or donuts in some of the places.

But nothing influences a person hesitant about a vaccine more than a word with a family member, friend or their own doctor, reveals a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

The survey results show that such conversations were a game-changer for most people who took the jab, even though they had initially planned to wait a while.

“It really seemed like conversations with friends and family – seeing friends and family getting vaccinated without major side effects and wanting to be able to visit them – were a major motivation, as well as conversations with their doctors, ”said Ashley Kirzinger. , Associate Director of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Public Opinion and Polling Research Team.

For the survey, released on July 13, researchers revisited people who had announced their intention to be vaccinated or to wait in another survey in January, before vaccines were available to most people, Kirzinger said.

In the June follow-up poll, KFF researchers found that many people had stuck to their original intentions.

Those who vaccinated within the six-month interval included:

  • 92% of those who planned to be vaccinated “as soon as possible”.
  • 54% of those who said they would “wait and see”.
  • 24% who said they would only get vaccinated if needed or definitely not.

But these results also mean that about half of the wait-and-see crowd and a quarter of solid hookers changed their minds and got their punches.

What happened?

Most often, people who changed their minds reported receiving the vaccine after being persuaded by a family member, with 17% saying their loved ones influenced them, according to the survey.

Conversations with other people in their life were also found to be compelling, including talking to their doctor (10%), a close friend (5%), a colleague or a classmate (2%).

A quarter also said they were influenced by seeing those around them get vaccinated without bad side effects.

Here are some responses received by the pollsters:

  • “That it was clearly safe. No one was dying,” said a 32-year-old Republican from South Carolina, originally in the “wait and see” category.
  • “I went to visit family members in another state and everyone there had been vaccinated without a problem, which encouraged me to go ahead and get the shot,” said one. another “wait-and-see” guy, a 63-year-old man. independent from Texas.
  • “My husband bugged me to get it and I gave in,” said a 42-year-old Republican woman from Indiana who earlier said she “definitely wouldn’t” get the shot.
  • “Friends and family have convinced me and so has my workplace,” said a 28-year-old “definitely not” from Virginia.

“These interpersonal relationships seem to be the biggest motivators,” Kirzinger said. “This doesn’t mean that there is nothing good to be done to get messages across about immunization, but what is going to be the most persuasive is people’s relationships with their friends and family members. family.”

This discovery did not surprise Dr Amesh Adalja, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

“There has never been solid data supporting financial or other incentives for immunization,” Adalja said. “So to me, it’s no surprise that friends and family and people you trust have been the biggest determinant of a person’s likelihood of getting vaccinated. As we try to increase the vaccinations, it will be very important to involve these types of people to motivate the vaccine-hesitant. “

About a third of the first group of adults surveyed are still unvaccinated, according to the survey. When asked what is holding them back, these people most often spoke of their fear of the possible side effects of shooting or their skepticism about the health threat posed by the pandemic.

“COVID was not the pandemic it was claimed to be and I am not getting the vaccine for it,” said a 26-year-old Republican from Iowa who in January had planned to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Newer, more contagious COVID-19 variants like the one from Delta that hit India last spring could create a “greater sense of urgency” among the unvaccinated, Kirzinger said, but she is not completely convinced by this notion.

“As cases start to turn up, they can rethink those decisions, thinking oh now is the time to protect themselves,” Kirzinger said. “Or maybe it’s the flip side, where they’re like, well, I didn’t want to get the vaccine and now the vaccines don’t even work, so why would I do it now?”

More information

The results of the Kaiser Family Foundation survey are available here.

SOURCES: Ashley Kirzinger, PhD, associate director, Public Opinion and Poll Research Team, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; Amesh Adalja, MD, principal investigator, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Baltimore; Kaiser Family Foundation, survey, July 13, 2021

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