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Why some people are more reluctant than others to get vaccinated

Posted at 8:44 PM, Dec 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 09:36:51-05

MAGIC VALLEY, Idaho — Even with a brand new COVID-19 vaccine released recently, some people are more reluctant than others to get vaccinated. In a study, professors at the University of Idaho found multiple factors that contribute to someone's decision to get a vaccine.

"Vaccination attitudes are complicated. More complicated than people think they are. So there's a variety of complex and interacting factors," Bert Baumgaertner, associate professor of Philosophy at the University of Idaho, said.

The study, which was started before the pandemic was declared, found that vaccine attitudes can depend on your political views. Usually, people with liberal views are more willing to get vaccinated than those with conservative views.

"But what was interesting was if you look at moderates, at low levels of risk they behave as conservatives would, or they have attitudes like conservatives would, but at higher levels of risk, they behave more like liberals," Baumgaertner said.

The study also found more men were willing to get vaccinated than women.

"We typically find that women are more risk-averse under various risk scenarios than men are just as a generality. But that seems not to be the case with vaccination," Baumgaertner said.

And Baumgaertner says understanding why people chose to get vaccinated is essential, especially during a pandemic.

"So understanding that and those types of complexities help us better understand which subpopulations can have more positive attitudes and where you can expect the rollout of vaccines to get adopted," Baumgaertner said.

University of Idaho professor Tanya Miura said to reach herd immunity after the vaccine is released, at least 70% of the population will need to be vaccinated. With this study, Baumgaertner says they hope this will help health officials reach that goal faster.

"One of the things we hope is that this will provide some aid in the vaccine roll out if the goal is to try to get as much adoption as possible to provide the most amount of protection, we might target particular types of populations," Baumgaertner said.