Unvaccinated doesn't mean anti-vaccine: 4 key misconceptions about the unvaccinated


While it is true that most of the country's current COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated people, it is becoming increasingly common for unvaccinated Americans to be demonized by some media outlets and public officials.

Pediatrician Rhea Boyd, MD, founded The Conversation, a campaign in which ​​Black and Latinx healthcare workers provide information and combat misinformation about vaccines. Dr. Boyd sat down with The Atlantic July 22 to talk about the misconceptions about unvaccinated Americans she has noticed during her advocacy work. Below are four key takeaways:

  1. There's a tendency to assume all people who have been vaccinated are pro-vaccine and all unvaccinated people are anti-vaccine, but that's not the case. Some people who have been vaccinated did so because of a requirement and have serious concerns about COVID-19 vaccines' safety and efficacy.

  2. The vaccine information that seems like common knowledge to one person may very well be unknown to another person, as not everyone has access to the Internet or quality education.

  3. Availability does not equal access. In March, President Joe Biden promised 90 percent of Americans would have a COVID-19 vaccination site within five miles of their home. However, issues such as taking unpaid time off, needing childcare and lack of transportation keep many people from getting vaccinated.

  4. The best way to convince an unvaccinated person to get vaccinated may not be a one-to-one challenge, but rather to shift the conversation happening around them.

    "If you hear enough stories in your Facebook feed or from strangers in the store that reinforce the science, it’ll make what you’re saying less reasonable to you. And less useful to you. And once you don’t need to hold on to it, you can let it go," Dr. Boyd said.

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