Making the leap from ‘no’ to ‘yes’: Here’s why some vaccine hesitators decided to get a shot

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Walmart store manager Essica Clifton looks away as Ashton Cheatham, pharmacy manager, gives her a shot of covid-19 vaccine. Credit: Pine Bluff Commercial/Byron Tate
Walmart store manager Essica Clifton looks away as Ashton Cheatham, pharmacy manager, gives her a shot of covid-19 vaccine. Credit: Pine Bluff Commercial/Byron Tate

Kim Simmons, a 61-year-old small-business owner in Illinois, vividly remembers the moment she went from vaccine skeptic to vaccine-ready: watching a Johns Hopkins University doctor on C-SPAN make the case for why the shots are safe.

For Lauren Bergner, a 39-year-old homemaker in New Jersey, it was when she realized it would make it easier for her family to attend New York Yankees games.

[These people] are among the growing number of vaccine skeptics turned vaccinated Americans, a sign of hope amid the slowing pace of vaccinations nationwide. Almost half of all adults have yet to receive a first shot although they are now eligible, and the rolling rate of new shots has dropped to its lowest level since mid-March.

The emergence of these mind-changers suggests that at least some vaccine-wary Americans are willing to reconsider when their concerns are addressed by those they regard as credible.

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“The ads on TV, reading up on the CDC site, talking to your buddy who’s a nurse — I think it’s going to be a combination of all these things that are going to help, particularly for the people who are the most hesitant,” [vaccine equity organization Made to Save advisor Alice] Chen said.

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