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Surveys show the number of Americans who plan to get vaccinated is increasing along with their confidence in COVID-19 vaccine safety. However, a significant percentage of the population is still not planning to get the shots that have been authorized for emergency use.
A late November Pew Research Center survey found 60 percent of Americans would either “definitely” or “probably” get vaccinated, up 9 percentage points since September. Among the 12,648 U.S. adults who responded to the Pew survey, the remainder said they “definitely” or “probably” would not get vaccinated; 21 percent of them were “pretty certain” more information will not change their minds.
The Pew study identified these indicators of vaccine compliance:
Political views are also an influencing factor: 69 percent of respondents who identified as Democrats said they would be get vaccinated, compared to 50 percent of Republicans.
A Gallup poll also found Americans’ vaccine acceptance increased in October: 58 percent of respondents said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 50 percent in September. Reasons for not getting vaccinated included:
Other related studies include:
Many employers are facing a barrage of employee questions about the vaccine. These inquiries should be anticipated and responded to with factual information from reliable sources.
In a report outlining factors that drive vaccine acceptance, a World Health Organization advisory group highlights three critical attributes: an enabling environment, social influences and motivation. Related tactics include:
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine cites MDGuidelines, published by Reed Group, as a resource. The guidelines include a new recommendation for vaccination based on the strength of published evidence and a high level of confidence in vaccine efficacy, particularly for vulnerable populations – including people in occupations requiring frequent close contact with others. The guidelines denote these benefits of vaccination: “Markedly reduced risk of infection and serious illness, and termination of the pandemic.”
Other recommended resources include:
Armed with information, employers can develop communication plans and messaging to ensure employees have access to consistent, accurate updates.
It’s also helpful to have a company policy in place. For example: Employees may be encouraged to obtain a vaccination as soon as it becomes available to them. Essential front-line personnel may be pre-registered for state-provided distribution programs. The company may offer vaccination onsite, as available, or cover the cost of obtaining the vaccine from an outside source, such as a local clinic or drug store. Some companies may require employees who refuse the vaccine to sign a declination form.
Even with vaccination it is still possible to become infected by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and spread it to others. Those who have had COVID-19, been vaccinated or have not yet received the vaccine will continue to be expected to wear a mask, wash their hands and avoid close contact with others until there is clear evidence that exposure risk has greatly diminished and the pandemic has lost its power.
The more people who do not practice prevention and decline vaccination, the farther we will be from achieving widespread immunity.
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