The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the table a global conversation about the necessity, safety, and efficacy of vaccines. When it comes to vaccination, there are only one of three camps that people fall into: pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine, and undecided.
In this article, we will be looking specifically at the US before and the attitudes American’s have towards the Covid-19 vaccine. Next, we will look at how other countries are looking at vaccines in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
People at the forefront of researching and developing the vaccine were among the first to champion the vaccine’s effectiveness. Other people who were the first to get their vaccine include medical professionals, teachers, and other professions labeled “essential” during the pandemic. For people working in the medical field, getting the vaccine allowed them to safely treat patients during the pandemic. As experts in their field, they are also more likely to trust the safety of a vaccine than others.
Teachers and other essential workers also jumped onboard the vaccine bandwagon once it was made available to them. This is because those workers struggled to find ways to work effectively during the lockdown phase of the pandemic and had to struggle to navigate their work while also following the safety guidelines put forward by the CDC; it was challenging. Some of these hardships drove people in these professions to get the vaccine out of a belief that getting the vaccine as soon as possible would put an end to the pandemic and allow their lives to return to normal.
Generally, people who tend to be pro-vaccine are well-educated, left-leaning people. They trust and believe in the science of this vaccine, and they are choosing to get vaccinated out of a belief that doing so will end the pandemic.
Commonly labeled the “anti-vaxxers” by their pro-vaccine opponents, people opposing vaccines are doing so in the name of medical freedom. These people are doubters who believe that the drug companies responsible for creating the vaccines are not telling the whole truth about the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine. Instead, their view is that the companies are pushing vaccines to turn a profit and are less interested in the health of individuals.
Generally speaking, people who tend to be against vaccines are right-leaning individuals who strongly support individual freedom. They resist authority figures in government dictating their personal choices and view the vaccine as the government overstepping their boundaries and imposing health choices for them.
This is the group that has political groups on both sides of the aisle puzzled: the undecided, vaccine-hesitant group. In a poll published by CNBC, conducted among New Yorkers, “78% of White residents would take the vaccine as soon as they could compared with 39% of Black residents, 54% of Hispanics and 54% of Asians” (Lovelance 2021). This means that those who were initially vaccine hesitate have consisted mostly of minority groups. These people in the middle are not necessarily against the vaccine; most are waiting to see the fallout of what happens to those who were first to be vaccinated. They are cautious and need more proof that this vaccine is really as safe as the experts claim it is before getting vaccinated themselves. This group of vaccine-hesitant people comes from both sides of the political spectrum and don’t consider themselves among the anti-vaccine demographic, even though they are also unvaccinated against Covid-19. They may have a general trust in vaccines, but not necessarily the Covid-19 vaccine because of how quickly the vaccine was developed and rolled out.
Across The Globe:
After looking at the complexities surrounding attitudes towards the Covid-19 vaccine in the US, let’s take a quick look at what is happening across the globe.
There has been some concerning vaccine hesitance among the Japanese and these low immunization rates threaten to cancel the upcomming Summer Olympics. In an article posten in Time Magazine, it is explained that there is an extremely conservative attitude toward vaccine approval. Of the available vaccines, Pfizer is the only one approved of in Japan. When the AstraZenaca and Johnson and Johnson vaccine were briefly suspended for causing blood clots, public perception of all vaccines had been damaged (Shanghai, 2021).
The United Kingdom
The UK has been rolling out vaccines rapidly and people have been responsive by getting their vaccine. The government has been pushing for war-time like efforts to coordinate an extremely efficient rollout. According to BBC News, “More than 42 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine — part of the biggest inoculation programme the country has ever launched” (Team 2021). With a combination of government support and compliance with the public, the UK has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
The heartbreaking number of covid-related deaths in India makes vaccination efforts all the more important, but the country faces some unique challenges. In an article posted in The Lancet, as of May of 2021, more than 186 million doses of the vaccine had been administered. This makes India third globally for the number of distributed vaccines; the U.S. and China are ahead of the game (Subramanian 2021). Yet their death rates continue to increase. A combination of population size and density have created problems. When vaccine events are coordinated in India, they have become super-spreader like events that infect the over populated lines of people waiting to get the vaccine. It’s a unique challenge and the Indian government will need to rethink it’s vaccine rollout strategy.
Attitudes and opinions concerning the Covid-19 vaccine are understandably complicated. The global conversation concerning the safety of this vaccine will continue and people will make decisions that they feel are in the best interest for them and heir family, which is ultimately what all of us want — for us and our family to be safe.
Lovelace, B. (2021, February 10). Biden’s next fight: Anti-vaxxers jeopardize plans to protect U.S. against Covid. CNBC.
Shanghai, C. C. (2021, April 20). Will Japan’s Low Immunization Rate Pose a Problem for the Olympics? Time.
Team, B. T. V. A. D. J. (2021, June 17). Covid vaccine: How many people in the UK have been vaccinated so far? BBC News.
Subramanian, S. V. (2021, June 3). India Faces a Challenge with its Mass Vaccination Efforts. The Lancet.