One of the knocks on development of the COVID-19 vaccines, from the public’s perspective, is that the process went so fast that people are convinced corners were cut. Many are simply afraid the vaccines aren’t safe. However, an article just published by JAMA Network indicates that the more patients are counseled on the vaccines, the more trusting and less hesitant they become. Participants in the Understanding America Study (UAS) of U.S. adults, conducted between October 12, 2020 and March 29, 2021, were asked how likely they were to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Based on their responses, they were classified as hesitant (unsure or somewhat/very unlikely to vaccinate) or willing to vaccinate (somewhat likely/very likely to vaccinate or already vaccinated). They were also asked their level of trust in the “governmental approval process to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for the public” and “the process in general (not just for COVID-19) to develop safe vaccines for the public.” At the start of the process (October 2020), trust in vaccination was around 2.6 on a scale of 0–6, with 46% of participants being classified as “hesitant.” By March—after rollout of vaccine initiatives and public information campaigns—trust in vaccination was up to nearly 3 and only 36% of participants were hesitant. While that’s substantial progress, the data indicate clearly that there’s work to be done to get more patients vaccinated, especially now that restaurants are seating to full capacity and people are interacting with each other more than at any time since the pandemic began.
Informed, Trusting Patients Are More Willing to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine—But We Still Have a Ways to Go