Those damn anti-vaxxers. 

In healthcare, it’s easy to blame all the COVID vaccine reluctance on anti-vaxxers. But a recent NY Times article shows just how wrong that is.

In reality, they found that 8% of Americans were Watchful – they want to see how others do with the vaccine before trying it themselves.

9% are Cost-Anxious. They can’t afford time off work – or cost of transportation – to get the shot.

4% are System Distrusters. They are hesitating because they feel the healthcare system treats them unfairly.

And 14% are COVID Skeptics. They don’t believe COVID is a real threat.

If I were designing a public health campaign in order to get more people vaccinated and I dismissed them all as anti-vaxxers, my campaign would fail. 

In reality, these numbers show that 60% of the unvaccinated are not anti-vax on principle. And even the remaining 40% may not be against all vaccines; they may believe specific conspiracies relating to the COVID vaccine.

But if I used a voice-of-customer approach, I would know … 

… that the Watchers want to hear how their friends felt just fine after the vaccine. 

… and the Cost-Anxious want to know that their employers will arrange for them to get vaccinated on site so they don’t have to lose hours of pay. 

… and that the System Distrusters need to have their distrust acknowledged. And that they will want to hear about vaccine safety from a trusted member of their own communities. 

… and for the COVID Skeptics, I would make sure not to put them down for their beliefs, and have those they trust (and 50% of this group trusts their doctors) talk it out with them.

Instead of making assumptions, it’s good to get the data. That’s how you make an effective campaign.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash