Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming available, somewhere between 60 and 90 percent of adults and children must be vaccinated or have antibodies resulting from infection in order to arrive at the safe harbor known as herd immunity, where the whole community is protected.
However, among the US population, there are large segments that remain reluctant or opposed to receiving the vaccines. In the Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 42 percent of Republicans said they definitely or probably would not. The same was true for 35 percent of Black adults, who, as a group, have borne a disproportionate share of sickness and death from COVID-19. Also deeply hesitant were 35 percent of rural residents, 36 percent of adults ages 30 to 49, and—especially worrisome given their public-facing roles—33 percent of essential workers and 29 percent of those who work in a health care delivery setting.
For the reluctant and distrustful, it will take targeted actions and communication strategies that speak to the specific concerns of each group to move them toward accepting the new vaccines. This article describes several approaches to reach those audiences.