Playing ‘wait and see’ with the COVID vaccine? Here’s the variety of reasons why people report hesitancy

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Credit: Ana Kova/UCSF
Credit: Ana Kova/UCSF

31% of the public say that when an FDA-approved vaccine for COVID-19 is available to them for free, they will “wait until it has been available for a while to see how it is working for other people” before getting vaccinated themselves. This “wait and see” group is an important target for outreach and messaging, since they express some hesitancy about getting vaccinated, but will likely be much easier to convert from vaccine-hesitant to vaccine-acceptant than those who say they will “definitely not” get the vaccine or will get it “only if required” to do so. 

As reported in January, those in the “wait and see” category express high levels of concern about the safety and long-term effects of COVID-19 vaccines as well as a desire for more information about vaccine side effects and effectiveness. Most adults in this group (60%) do not yet know someone who’s been vaccinated for COVID-19, presenting an opportunity for them to learn more as more of their friends and family members get vaccinated.

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This analysis examines the “wait and see” group in more detail, with a focus on their concerns about being vaccinated, the messages that resonate most, and the messengers they are likely to turn to for more information about COVID-19 vaccination. 

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