OSU prof looks at the ‘why’ behind vaccine hesitancy


Hesitancy a real issue in South, Midwest

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Vaccine hesitancy is different depending on where you live and what your life experiences are. Now there is data that sheds light on some of the why behind this disparity.

OSU Associate Professor of Practice Marion Ceraso told KOIN 6 News what we know from the literature and from recent polling is that there is a broad continuum of vaccine confidence/hesitancy, so the reasons behind people not getting vaccinated are varied.

For some, there are still logistical barriers — transportation to a vaccine site, concerns about cost or requirement of medical insurance. In these cases, making sure people know vaccines are free and helping eliminate transportation and other barriers is critically important.

For others, misinformation and even disinformation may be an issue among family and friends or on the internet. For some communities, distrust may stem from the experience of discriminatory practices in health and healthcare.

Vaccine hesitancy for every county in the US

In those cases, Ceraso said one important strategy is working with locally respected community members to help address any questions or concerns. Physicians, public health, religious and other community leaders and respected voices can be very important for communicating up-to-date, accurate information about the vaccine.

A recent research project from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the data published on a weekly basis since January has shown a tremendous reduction in vaccine hesitancy across the country, particularly between January and May.

Since then, the director of the project said it’s trended up a bit.

While there is some vaccine hesitancy in the Pacific Northwest, it’s nowhere near areas of the Midwest and South.

Their research also found that some people are reluctant to be vaccinated because of fears about side effects or as-yet-unknown health consequences.

For others, particularly those on the far right of the political spectrum, some concerns fall into the realm of conspiracy theories.

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