New Consumer Research On COVID-19 Vaccination Reveals Barriers In Reaching Herd Immunity

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Nearly half of unvaccinated people unsure about getting vaccine, or not getting it at all

New DISQO research asking COVID-19 unvaccinated U.S. adults about their intentions to get vaccinated raises concerns over the country’s ability to reach the threshold widely believed necessary for herd immunity (70% of the population being vaccinated).

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DISQO found that 23% of unvaccinated people were “unsure” about whether they will get a vaccine when available to them, and 22% said they “would not.”

DISQO fielded the new study, “Moving the Needle, Persuading the Vaccine Unsure,” to understand COVID-19 vaccine attitudes, trust about information sources, and willingness to be vaccinated at pharmacy retailers. 22,000 U.S. adults answered survey questions and more than 30,000 opted in to share their online browsing, enabling DISQO to understand attitudes and actual behaviors.

Who among the U.S. population is uncertain about being vaccinated?

  • African Americans were 37% more likely to be unsure.
  • Hispanic identifying people were 21% more likely to be unsure.
  • People with household income less than $50,000 annually were 10% more likely to be unsure — and 20% more likely to say they will not take the vaccine.
  • Younger people were more likely to be unsure. Those 18-24 were 15% more likely to be unsure, and those 24-34 were 12% more likely to be unsure.
  • Importantly, for people 35 and younger who were unsure, social media is an important communications channel. Relative to the general public, those 18-24 were 2.4 times more likely to rely on it as a source, and those 25-34 were 1.5 times more likely.

The study was conducted March 3-5, 2021 when only approximately 14% of the U.S. population had been reported vaccinated by the CDC.

Turning the Vaccination Tide

“Internet search behavior and site visitation data observed by DISQO demonstrated the role that pharmacies may already be playing in the pandemic fight,” said Armen Petrosian, CMO at DISQO. “When looking across a broad array of keyword searches related to vaccine information such as ‘vaccine available’ and ‘vaccine near me,’ large majorities subsequently visited websites of four major pharmacy brands: Rite Aid, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS.”

While the data showed that only 11% of “unsures” relied on “my pharmacy” as a source of vaccine information (versus 21% of committed vaccine getters), there is encouraging data that concerted efforts by pharmacy brands could have a positive impact:

  • 18–24-year-olds are 70% more likely to use pharmacies as a vaccine information source.
  • Unsure African Americans were 67% more likely to say that “my pharmacy” is a source for COVID-19 vaccine information.
  • Unsure Hispanics were 10% more likely to say that “my pharmacy” is a source for COVID-19 vaccine information.

While DISQO’s insights reveal the urgency of converting at least half of the unvaccinated and unsure to positive intentions for getting vaccinated, the data also encouragingly showed that the “unsures” were 28% more likely to have received flu shots in the past. DISQO noted this as a positive sign since the annual flu shot is the most common adult vaccine in the U.S. and may be a good proxy for future likelihood that the general population will seek and accept COVID-19 vaccination.

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