Insights on trust and vaccines: Lessons from an emergency department analysis

For how available the COVID vaccine has become, it has been a slow climb to getting Americans vaccinated. Now almost roughly 54% are vaccinated, but the obstacles to reaching higher levels are well-documented. And myriad reasons exist for it, with the problem, at times, portrayed as insurmountable.

Masked person holding up hand in defense against a vial of vaccine being offered by a gloved hand.

Recognizing the climate of vaccine hesitancy, a team from the Perelman School of Medicine—led by Benjamin S. Abella, vice chair for research in emergency medicine—decided to come at the problem from a slightly different angle: determining who people trust when it comes to the shot.

Stemming from surveys conducted among approximately 1,000 emergency department patients who had not yet been vaccinated, this research confirmed some popular lines of thinking about vaccine-hesitant people, while at the same time uncovering some potential myths.

From the research, the team concludes that family and friends remain the greatest potential influencers; however, social media may not be the boogeyman we imagined. Additionally, emergency departments present an opportunity for vaccine distribution. The survey also makes clear that one specific method would not work universally for everyone who is hesitant of the vaccine.

This story is by Frank Otto. Read more at Penn Medicine News.