Survey: Younger Generations are Less Trustful of COVID-19 Vaccines


According to the survey results, 56% of Americans say they do not plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine once available.

As the first vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are being administered, pharmacists and other health care providers are working to ensure that as many Americans as possible receive the 2-dose vaccination. However, a recent survey has found that younger individuals are significantly less likely to get the vaccine compared with older generations.

According to the survey results, 56% of Americans say they do not plan to get the vaccine once available. Of those respondents, 35% do not trust vaccines in general, 28% are not confident in the development and approval process, and 24% are concerned about adverse effects (AEs). Combating these concerns should be a major goal for health experts as more vaccines are approved and the broader public is able to receive them.

The survey found that individuals more likely to be adversely affected by COVID-19 are significantly more willing to be vaccinated. As such, these groups should be targeted with messaging to educate them on where, how, and when to get vaccinated as opposed to why. Specifically, 52% of Baby Boomers and 58% of the Silent Generation plan to receive the vaccine, compared with just 36% of Gen Z. Those with underlying health conditions are 94% more likely to get the vaccine than those without underlying conditions.

For individuals who are skeptical of the vaccine, the survey results suggest that the most common reasons are a general mistrust of vaccines or distrust of the creation process for COVID-19 vaccines specifically. The data found that compared with other generations, members of the Millennial and Gen X generations are the most likely to distrust vaccines overall. For these age groups, the investigators said messaging should clearly explain why the health risks associated with contracting the virus are greater than the risks tied to vaccination.

Gen Z patients are the most likely to mistrust the developmental and approval process, according to the survey. Of those in this group who do plan to get the vaccine, 33% said they will wait until there is a better understanding of the long-term AEs. When speaking with this age group, health care providers should highlight the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, as well as the integrity of the developmental process.

Based on these findings, the authors concluded that health experts should alter their messaging based on the patient’s age, health conditions, and other demographics. Emphasizing the importance of the vaccine to younger generations and those with no underlying health conditions could significantly increase the overall rate of COVID-19 vaccination in the United States.

COVID-19 Vaccine Sentiment Survey; Pulse. Accessed December 16, 2020.

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