Vaccine confidence is holding firm, but it has recently reached a plateau. Approximately 10-15% of the United States population needs to change their mind to achieve herd immunity, which is between 70-85%, vaccinated individuals. Looking at the attributes of Americans who are ambivalent about vaccination, Real Chemistry concludes that living in a small town, having right-leaning ideologies, or being Black/African American are not the reasons why these groups are less willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Correlation does not equal causation. Real Chemistry’s research shows that race, geography, and political affiliation are not demographic characteristics determining who is willing to vaccinate, except the right-leaning political group where a slight gap remains. While most segments are willing to vaccinate, the right-leaning political affiliation is most unwilling and cites freedom of choice and side effects are their main reasons; 16% of right-leaning individuals assert that freedom of choice is their main reason for their ambivalence towards vaccines and 7% cite side effects.
Even so, belief in vaccine safety is high among all political affiliations, as is the belief that we can achieve broad immunity. Top consumer attributes associated with vaccine confidence are individuals that save a large portion of income, those with higher cholesterol, and those who 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 have an average education of high school or less, and those who spend high portions of their income on consumer goods.
Closing the vaccine gap requires vaccine incentives, conveniences, and positive dialogue. Freedom of choice must remain paramount, but governments and companies should experiment with incentives that resonate with vaccine-hesitant citizens. Additionally, the transition from mass vaccination sites to dose availability within local health care provider offices and clinics will provide greater access to those in rural communities. Refraining from pointing fingers at those unwilling to vaccinate will be beneficial. Closing the gap will be more successful in converting vaccine-hesitant individuals by emphasizing the personal and economic benefits of getting vaccinated and reinforcing freedom of choice.