Why vaccine hesitancy must be addressed empathetically

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ACCORDING to a new editorial,vaccine hesitancy could seriously threaten efforts to stop the pandemic.

The editorial blames vaccine hesitancy on the controversy, misinformation, a lack of confidence surrounding vaccine trial data, anxiety about vaccine safety, and historical mistrust of the medical establishment due to current or past negative treatment.

They also state that there are also important differences between people who are vaccine hesitant versus people who are anti-vaccine or “anti-vaxx,” referring to definitions of anti-vaxxers as activists who deliberately spread misinformation.

Health experts must communicate vaccine information with more empathy and address all vaccine questions or concerns without prejudice or bias.

Factors that include vaccine supply and distribution continue to complicate this unprecedented Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

But, according to a new editorial, it seems that vaccine hesitancy could cripple global efforts to stop the pandemic.

And rates of vaccine hesitancy are high worldwide. In a 2021 systemic review exploring Covid-19 vaccine acceptance rates in 33 countries before December 25, 2021, the average acceptance rate in the United States was only 56.9%.

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In the review, the average U.S. rate of vaccine acceptance was very close to Poland (56.3%), France (58.9%), Russia (54.9%), and Italy (53.7%), which were among the lowest in the world. Acceptance rates were even lower in several Middle Eastern and Arab countries such as Kuwait (23.6%) and Jordan (28.4%).

We now know that vaccine acceptance in the U.S. has increased to around 61.7% as of March 15, 2021.

Researchers are scrambling to find ways to address and improve vaccine acceptance rates.

That is why two prominent researchers co-authored a new editorial discussing vaccine hesitancy, the threat it poses to vaccine efforts, and how to tackle it.