Headline RoundupDecember 20th, 2021

How Should the US Respond to Skepticism and Hesitancy About the COVID-19 Vaccine?

AllSides Summary

Roughly 23% of people in the U.S. ages five and older have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose. How should the the government and the rest of the American public respond to that?

As of Monday, 77% of Americans ages five and up have received at least one dose. Tens of millions of eligible Americans haven't. People perceive the vaccine and its effectiveness differently across the spectrum, and some are more concerned about side effects or confident in natural immunity. In November, 49% of parents of kids ages 12-17 responding to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll said their child was already vaccinated, 13% said they wanted to wait, and 30% said they definitely wouldn't have their child vaccinated. For kids ages 5-11, 58% of parents said they either wanted to wait, would only do it if required, or said they definitely wouldn't do it.

Writers for many left-rated outlets, as well as some on the right, argue that the COVID-19 vaccine's benefits greatly outweigh the risks and criticize people who ignore that view. Other voices on the left highlight how social, economic or racial inequities may contribute to vaccination decisions. Many on the right say poor public health leadership, rare but fatal COVID -19 vaccine side effects and the demonization of skeptics play a big role in vaccine hesitancy. A scientist writing for Foreign Policy called on researchers to "identify the roots that underlie vaccine hesitancy" and urged that it be addressed "as an emotional, social, and cultural problem."

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