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The “vaccination divide” in the US


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I struggle to understand the psychology behind the “two Americas” when it comes to vaccine uptake for COVID-19. When I read, for example, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York have 70%+ uptake, but Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas has less than 45% uptake, I am so curious about the social behavior and individual psychology behind those stats, particularly because that does not necessarily correlate to other vaccines. (IOW, I don’t think Alabama is a hotbed of people who also refuse the MMR, Varicella, etc.) 

I live in Maryland which, in some ways is a perfect microcosm of the two Americas. If I turn left out of my driveway, I move towards the highly liberal section, lots of masking (even now) and high compliance with vaccination. If I turn right out my driveway, I move towards the opposite. The town to the right is where I encountered the man in the store declaring mask-wearing was “Tie-ranny!” 

I wonder how much identity has to do with it and I wonder how much social clusters have to do with it as well. (If most of your friends are vaxxed, you are more likely to see it as normal/obvious; if most are refusing, you are more likely to not see the point/benefit.) it’s also interesting to me when people “cross over”; a man I was talking to recently said, “I’m a Conservative, but I believe in science! Yes, I got the vaccine.” But I wonder if that man would still think that way if he lived in a place surrounded by friends and family who think “I’m a Conservative” = vaccine refusal. 

Just musing about this today. 

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I think it’s just their choice of news.  It will be interesting to see how it shifts now that Fox News is encouraging masks and saying the virus isn’t a hoax after all.

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I've been wondering if it correlates a lot to education level and wealth as well.   My state almost always goes blue for national elections but my county is an almost 50/50 split, is one of the wealthiest (most expensive, ugh) counties in the country and has a high percentage of educated people.  But we are the first county in NJ to hit over 70% with some of the reddest towns having very high vaccination percentages.  Honestly I was pleasantly surprised since where I live and where I work were two towns I expected to have really poor vaccination numbers and both are in the high 80's for those eligible including 12-18's.   Both towns have a high percentage who would consider themselves proudly conservative and we even had a fair number of signs the last election indicating that preference. 

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32 minutes ago, Wheres Toto said:

I've been wondering if it correlates a lot to education level and wealth as well.   My state almost always goes blue for national elections but my county is an almost 50/50 split, is one of the wealthiest (most expensive, ugh) counties in the country and has a high percentage of educated people.  But we are the first county in NJ to hit over 70% with some of the reddest towns having very high vaccination percentages.  Honestly I was pleasantly surprised since where I live and where I work were two towns I expected to have really poor vaccination numbers and both are in the high 80's for those eligible including 12-18's.   Both towns have a high percentage who would consider themselves proudly conservative and we even had a fair number of signs the last election indicating that preference. 

Yes, this, there is a definite political divide, but also education and race too.

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There's a data analyst that I read who has written that breaking this into a red/blue divide isn't the most informative way to capture what is happening.  He argues that most people are making decisions based on their personal risks.  For example, older people lean red but are also the most likely to be vaccinated.  People who live in more dense environments are also more likely to be vaccinated.  So, people at higher risk of complications or at higher risk of being exposed are more likely to choose to be vaccinated than people at lower risk of either.  There are differences by race, with Asians most likely to be vaccinated, followed by whites, then Hispanic, and then Black. I don't know how that fits with perception of risk, but the analyst was pointing out that when people hear 'unvaccinated in Alabama' they may be imagining a 60 year old white Trump voter but it's equally (or maybe more) likely to be a 25 year old black man.  

Locally, I'm seeing perception of risk driving people's decisions, and I do see one somewhat political aspect.  Most older people, whatever their political views, got vaccinated as quickly as they could.  Most people that i know in the 35-55 demographic also got vaccinated, but the people that I know who are in rural areas are less likely to have made that choice.  Where I see the difference is with vaccinating youth and kids.  The more conservative people are more likely to choose to wait for more information before having low-risk teens vaccinated, while people who don't want to do things until younger people can be vaccinated are more likely to lean blue.  There isn't a perfect breakdown, though, and I'd imagine, based on knowing the people involved, that it probably also correlates with how likely they are to go to a doctor vs wait things out, etc.  

And, as I post in other threads, I love to read and learn but don't like to argue on the internet.  I hesitated to even post on a thread that is likely to get contentions, but the info from the first paragraph was interesting to me when I read it so I wanted to share it.  I probably won't be back for future discussion, although I may check in to see what others post.  

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On our area it tends to be the white, conservative, non college educated that are refusing the mask where minorities and college educated and more liberals are vaccinating.  Less vaccination in more rural areas than in more populated areas.

That is a total non scientific generalization.   

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I'm in Canada, not the US, and within my limited social circle, the decision to vac or not is always a personal, health-related choice. 

On another note about making generalizations, correlation is not causation. Just because there seems to be a link between 2 things , doesn't mean that is the cause. 

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My circle has very liberal and very conservative people in it. There isn’t a direct link along those lines to vaccinated or not, in my OWN observation. I have one super conservative person along the lines of no mask/no vac who thinks it’s a govt conspiracy. I have another equally super conservative person in my circle who is vaccinated. Obviously my circle is small, but that’s what I’m seeing. The older people in my circle are vaccinated—no party lines involved at all. 

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I live extreeeeemely rural. Most of the people here that aren't vaccinated are unvaxxed because they opened it up for everyone right at the start of farming and going to town to get one is a 70+ mile one way road trip that usually only gets made for replacement tractor parts or the odd after church grocery run. I suspect the rates will go way up in the fall when the crop is in the bins and people have a bit more free time. 

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My county is fairly conservative.

We have decently high vaccination rates and the county says that those rates are false due to underreporting by the military bases (ie. A significant number of people were vaccinated outside the county distribution lines - via the US Space Force, Air Force and Army bases in my area- though these people are resident in my county they aren't all in the county vaccine numbers). 

I work with mostly retired folks (volunteer organization) who are basically all vaccinated and all VERY conservative. 

I don't have a lot of crossover with my local homeschool community right now so I am less sure about their attitudes. 

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1 hour ago, Clemsondana said:

There's a data analyst that I read who has written that breaking this into a red/blue divide isn't the most informative way to capture what is happening.  He argues that most people are making decisions based on their personal risks.  For example, older people lean red but are also the most likely to be vaccinated.  People who live in more dense environments are also more likely to be vaccinated.  So, people at higher risk of complications or at higher risk of being exposed are more likely to choose to be vaccinated than people at lower risk of either.  There are differences by race, with Asians most likely to be vaccinated, followed by whites, then Hispanic, and then Black. I don't know how that fits with perception of risk, but the analyst was pointing out that when people hear 'unvaccinated in Alabama' they may be imagining a 60 year old white Trump voter but it's equally (or maybe more) likely to be a 25 year old black man.  

I think there's some truth to all this, but also, their perception of risk is just... off. In particular with Delta, there are epidemiologists saying that if you're not vaccinated, it's not about whether or not you're more likely to be exposed, etc. etc. but you just will get it. It's that much more contagious. 

 

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1 hour ago, Clemsondana said:

There's a data analyst that I read who has written that breaking this into a red/blue divide isn't the most informative way to capture what is happening.  He argues that most people are making decisions based on their personal risks.  For example, older people lean red but are also the most likely to be vaccinated.  People who live in more dense environments are also more likely to be vaccinated.  So, people at higher risk of complications or at higher risk of being exposed are more likely to choose to be vaccinated than people at lower risk of either.  There are differences by race, with Asians most likely to be vaccinated, followed by whites, then Hispanic, and then Black. I don't know how that fits with perception of risk, but the analyst was pointing out that when people hear 'unvaccinated in Alabama' they may be imagining a 60 year old white Trump voter but it's equally (or maybe more) likely to be a 25 year old black man.  

 

This is what I'm seeing as well. In my state, 80% of those age 65+ are fully vaccinated. That's a large percentage for a decidedly red state.

The smaller percentages for younger cohorts, I believe, have far more to do with risk assessment than political loyalty.   

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In my circle, which is non political, almost everyone is vaccinated that is eligible.  The exception being my 34 year old niece who is a nurse.  She fears the vaccine because she is allergic to a lot of things and she had a bad reaction to the flu vaccine a few years back.  She said she wants to wait a bit.  Well, to me, a bit has passed and she can see from the data the chances are slim she will have an adverse reaction.  I wonder at this point what her deal is but I am trying to not press her.

My sister in TX who is political....none of them are getting the vaccine and they also don't mask.  In fact, her husband went to his long time eye doctor and was asked to masked and he refused and walked out and got a different eye doctor.  So weird to me.  It literally makes no sense to me.  

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I had a 72 year old female customer tell me yesterday that she got vaccinated.  She told me she is not one to believe everything the government tells her but she can see clearly this virus is real.  She said some of her friends are saying, 'well you don't know the long term effects of the vaccine'.  She said she replied, 'well, I know the effects of Covid!  People are dying all around us!'  

My mom has a niece that we really don't know.....she is hooked up with some extreme religious group....She is so crazy if I was mom I would block her.  Mom posted a nice little meme about getting the vaccine for the vulnerable among us.  The niece replies 'Complete lies and propaganda!!'  Then below that 'the news is out!  45K die within 3 days of getting the vaccine.'    I am normally very hands off on FB stuff, but I replied below that....'no.  Just....no.'  She responded 'The truth will come out soon!'  Ugh.  

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As of yesterday my county has a 22% one dose rate & a 19.7% fully vaccinated rate. My country is semi-rural, conservative. IMO, it's not just a conservative divide but more about education levels. Everyone I know from the university is vaccinated. 

The mindset that Covid is really not that bad, that they won't get it, & it's my right not to wear a mask or get vaccinated seem to prevade public opinion (based upon local stories & social media commentary). I see a lot of denial and since they made it through the last year, they think they'll be fine. 

Just this week the entire NW region of the state issued a public health advisory. We'll see if that actually increases the number of people getting vaccines. 

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It seems to be an age thing here (it’s really conservative overall here). The largest population age group shows to be the 20-29 year olds but their vaccination rate is just above 30%. According to age groups, we don’t even hit 50% vaccinated until the 50+ groups.  Our 12-15 years old are the least with under 20% vaxxed. 

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15 minutes ago, elegantlion said:

As of yesterday my county has a 22% one dose rate & a 19.7% fully vaccinated rate. My country is semi-rural, conservative. IMO, it's not just a conservative divide but more about education levels. Everyone I know from the university is vaccinated. 

The mindset that Covid is really not that bad, that they won't get it, & it's my right not to wear a mask or get vaccinated seem to prevade public opinion (based upon local stories & social media commentary). I see a lot of denial and since they made it through the last year, they think they'll be fine. 

The bolded: we see a divide between faculty (almost all vaccinated) and staff (many vax refusers). Educational level is possibly a factor, but also:  faculty lean more liberal vs staff very conservative; all faculty are from elsewhere vs staff hails from the area for generations.

We see the same attitudes re Covid in our community: it's a hoax; the government can't make me do anything; mask wearers are sheep; it's my constitutional freedom to do whatever I please. Even on campus among staff, we hear crazy things like : the hospital gets money for every Covid patient, so they claim it's Covid when that's really not true; the vaccine is the mark of the beast. At that point, there is nothing you can argue. You just want to bang your head in frustration against the wall at this level of insanity.

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I'm in a rural area but my circle of friends is highly educated (engineers, tech people, medical people, teachers). Not many are vaccinated - as in, I don't know if any of them are. Many have already had covid (especially since our church had a huge outbreak). They look at it (covid) as No Big Deal for 97% of people. 

I think some of it is distrust for TPTB, some as government overreach/ control, and some general conspiracy theory (which is big in engineering circles).

I know many here disagree, but I am a big believer in people getting to make their own decision on getting this vaccine. I am not bothered by the people around me not being vaccinated as long as we respect each other's decisions. Same with masking.

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54 minutes ago, Hyacinth said:

This is what I'm seeing as well. In my state, 80% of those age 65+ are fully vaccinated. That's a large percentage for a decidedly red state.

The smaller percentages for younger cohorts, I believe, have far more to do with risk assessment than political loyalty.   

I see the same with older people, that politics doesn’t matter much for vaccinating for the majority. With younger though, I don’t think personal risk assessment would explain it based on how widely vaccination in younger cohorts varies. How would you explain some areas having very low vaccine uptake in under 40s and some very high? 

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1 hour ago, skywards said:

I live extreeeeemely rural. Most of the people here that aren't vaccinated are unvaxxed because they opened it up for everyone right at the start of farming and going to town to get one is a 70+ mile one way road trip that usually only gets made for replacement tractor parts or the odd after church grocery run. I suspect the rates will go way up in the fall when the crop is in the bins and people have a bit more free time. 

My friend lives in a rural area (not that rural though) and she is a doctor and set up several clinics to help reach the rural farmers, migrant workers, etc.   She even went door to door for those who wanted it and were homebound.

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3 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

I'm in a rural area but my circle of friends is highly educated (engineers, tech people, medical people, teachers). Not many are vaccinated - as in, I don't know if any of them are. Many have already had covid (especially since our church had a huge outbreak). They look at it (covid) as No Big Deal for 97% of people. 

I think some of it is distrust for TPTB, some as government overreach/ control, and some general conspiracy theory (which is big in engineering circles).

I know many here disagree, but I am a big believer in people getting to make their own decision on getting this vaccine. I am not bothered by the people around me not being vaccinated as long as we respect each other's decisions. Same with masking.

I would  be too if they were not a danger to those who cannot get the vaccine.  At this point mainly children under age 12.  

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3 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

They look at it (covid) as No Big Deal for 97% of people.

I think part of the problem is that people are not good at risk assessment. No big deal for 97% means a big deal for 3%, and that’s a very high percentage to be dangerously ill. I think people think that’s low, but it’s not when you’re talking a very contagious illness on a whole population level (in a rural town of 10,000, if everyone eventually gets it, you would have 300 dangerously ill and 100 die). 

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Of the ones I know that have had the vaccine and that are conservative (1) has significant health problems (5-family) got it because of travel requirements, and (1) low risk but think of it as protecting others, college educated and very much stay out of extreme politics. My husband leans conservative but due to my being more liberal ends up towards the center on some things and is not a fan of one certain politician- he is vaccinated and is one of the few at his work although they had a clinic at work with time off for everyone to get vaccinated. 

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13 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

I know many here disagree, but I am a big believer in people getting to make their own decision on getting this vaccine. I am not bothered by the people around me not being vaccinated as long as we respect each other's decisions. Same with masking.

I would not be bothered if the unvaccinated people took measures not to infect others. 
Willfully risking spreading a dangerous disease because the person refuses to mask, distance, and stay home when sick? That's the same as reckless drunk driving.

As to the bolded: since masking is primarily protecting the other person, how can that be left to each person's decision? "I reserve the right to cough lethal germs on you because it's my decision"? WTH? 
 

Edited by regentrude
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My personal circle is small enough that I'm having a hard time drawing any meaningful conclusions. With the exception of my immediate family (the four of us, who are all fully vaccinated) my entire circle is almost solely very right leaning, and some of them the Christian nationalist types. Most are well educated. They're overwhelmingly unvaccinated, think Covid is overblown, they will never be "sheeple," refuse to "live in fear," will comply with mandates and individual business requests for masking but will never voluntarily do it, etc. The ones within that group who are vaccinated have always (in general) tended to be more pro-active about preventative health care, have major risk factors of their own and/or have parents or other close relatives who are high risk. Some within the group are high risk themselves but still won't get vaccinated, largely because they're either in denial about their risk or believe they're at more risk from the vaccine than if they get Covid. One person I know who is unvaccinated is quite moderate, would never dream of not masking around other people, etc., but she's always been doctor hesitant. Not really skeptical, just the type who puts off going to the doctor or dentist as long as possible, and chooses to do the minimum whenever possible. I think she's definitely leaning toward getting vaccinated now, though.

Edited by Pawz4me
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I've seen three categories of people who haven't all got the vaccine:

1) Those who can't. There's an unusually high number of people in my circle who are medically contraindicated - whether for any EUA medicine because they've had so many bad reactions to so many other medicines, for any vaccine because their immune systems treat the vaccine as if it was the real thing and they are at serious risk of illness or for anything involving needles due to extreme phobia/anxiety. They've all been locked down since last March, and none are the sort of people who'd encourage anyone with an option to follow their lead. These are not the people OP had in mind.

2) Vaccine-hesitant people. They need more information. For a lot of them, this translated to something like, "they needed someone whose medical opinion they respected to sit with them, preferably with a mug of coffee/tea each, and walk them through their personal concerns". Several of these people looked like they would be permanently anti-vax, but after their fears were assuaged they booked to get their vaccines happily.

3) I've encountered one person face-to-face who actually believes the vaccine is evil (though they think COVID is real enough and, interestingly, wears a mask indoors even if entertaining visitors at home). It's hard to know if this is someone who's really in category 2), but none of the hesitant people of my acquaintance were attributing intent to the vaccine (they have previously thought it was a bad idea, but not said anything that wasn't at least plausible for someone with limited access to health information to believe).

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@Scarlett I understand that perspective but where I live, that decision is really not a thing. The over 12s aren't vaccinated, either, so even if they could be, they won't be.

The reason I mask is to protect others. I get it. I know others who don't get it.

@KSera 10,000 is big for where I am. I live rural. Towns of 49, 159, 529, or the big ones like where I live of 3,000. Our entire county only has 7000 people in it. The county hospital has maybe 5 beds total. High deaths due to drugs & alcohol among young people. Plenty of cancer deaths. More than normal old people's deaths this last year. But death is part of life out here. So, yes, most people here will say their lives and their children's sports (which is king in our town) should not be disrupted for 3% hospitalization & even less covid-caused deaths. 

Again, not my perspective, but what I see & hear around me.

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Among people I know, the strongest correlation I have seen with vax/anti-vax attitudes is a general mistrust of the government.  Which is kind of related to politics, as there is a tendency for those who want more/larger government programs to be those who have a high level of trust in the government and to be politically liberal, and for those who want as little government involvement in individuals’ lives as possible to be those who mistrust the government and to be politically conservative.

It is definitely a matter of risk assessment at our house.  My husband and I got the vaccine as soon as possible, but when our 12-year-old became eligible for the vaccine, we decided to wait a couple of months with the reasoning that if there were any as-yet-unknown issues with the new vaccine, they would become apparent by then.  Shortly after that we discovered through his chemo monitoring tests that our youngest has a genetic heart defect that all the other kids need to be tested for.  So we are delaying the vaccine for our oldest until we know whether she also has this heart defect, so that if she does we can consult the cardiologist on her risks with the rare heart side effect with the vaccine.

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30 minutes ago, KSera said:

I see the same with older people, that politics doesn’t matter much for vaccinating for the majority. With younger though, I don’t think personal risk assessment would explain it based on how widely vaccination in younger cohorts varies. How would you explain some areas having very low vaccine uptake in under 40s and some very high? 

I don't know. That's a good question. My (granted limited) interactions with people who have chosen not to vaccinate suggests risk assessment plays a significant role.

Example: married couple, mid-30s, no kids. Both work from home. Neither hangs out in bars or eats inside restaurants. Neither is overweight. Neither has a current or past habit of smoking or vaping. Given what they understand about risk factors for developing symptomatic COVID, let alone being hospitalized or killed by it, the vaccine seems like a bigger risk in terms of side effects and lost time at work than the disease does. 

As I said, I have only a few of these kinds of examples as I don't spend a lot of time (outside of the Hive) talking about this topic, so maybe there's more at play than personal risk assessment.

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In my state (a swing state), I noticed that 50+ vax uptake is a bit lower in the very oldest age groups.  Based on people I am close to, I suspect that is due to people being worried about vax effects.  Not that I blame them.  Though they are not getting vaxed, that does not mean they are denying or trying to catch Covid.  Many of them already live a basically locked-down lifestyle, or have other Covid-unfriendly behaviors.  And with such lifestyles, even those who do unfortunately catch Covid are unlikely to spread it around the community.

While there are some people who are anti-vax due to following extreme "info" sources, by far the biggest "divide" in our state is racial.  I am not sure why there is such low uptake among AA, especially given the high level of vax availability.  It's not like you have to go to a doctor or even make an appointment.  You can do walk-in at the grocery stores or drugstores at odd hours, 7 days a week.  I hope someone is studying what this population's pushback is.

The articles say distrust of the US medical system.  I don't know.  The vax has been out for long enough now that even the initially skeptical can see the population isn't dying in droves.  Also, I don't know that AA families are generally anti-vax, which would seem to be expected if they distrusted US medicine in general.  I haven't observed black families keeping their kids away from routine medical care.  So honestly, that argument doesn't fly with me.

Edited by SKL
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The factors which seem to me to be driving vaccine refusal in my area are politics, religion, and low levels of education. These factors are so entangled with one another that it is difficult to tease out the primary cause of vaccine resistance.  As far as social clusters go, I think that at this point, even those who could be swayed by a logical and clear presentation of safety data or risk analysis will continue to refuse to be vaccinated because they don’t want to be perceived as somehow betraying their political or religious family/friends/colleagues.

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7 minutes ago, SKL said:

In my state (a swing state), I noticed that 50+ vax uptake is a bit lower in the very oldest age groups.  Based on people I am close to, I suspect that is due to people being worried about vax effects.  Not that I blame them.  Though they are not getting vaxed, that does not mean they are denying or trying to catch Covid.  Many of them already live a basically locked-down lifestyle, or have other Covid-unfriendly behaviors.  And with such lifestyles, even those who do unfortunately catch Covid are unlikely to spread it around the community.

While there are some people who are anti-vax due to following extreme "info" sources, by far the biggest "divide" in our state is racial.  I am not sure why there is such low uptake among AA, especially given the high level of vax availability.  It's not like you have to go to a doctor or even make an appointment.  You can do walk-in at the grocery stores or drugstores at odd hours, 7 days a week.  I hope someone is studying what this population's pushback is.

The articles say distrust of the US medical system.  I don't know.  The vax has been out for long enough now that even the initially skeptical can see the population isn't dying in droves.  Also, I don't know that AA families are generally anti-vax, which would seem to be expected if they distrusted US medicine in general.  I haven't observed black families keeping their kids away from routine medical care.  So honestly, that argument doesn't fly with me.

Historically there was government medical experimentation on African Americans in the U.S., so there is a reasonable heightened suspicion of a new, less-proven medical intervention being pushed by the government.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/02/16/black-history-covid-vaccine-fears-medical-experiments/4358844001/#:~:text=In 1932%2C U.S. Public Health Service employees recruited,of the experiment made front-page news in 1972.

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7 minutes ago, Condessa said:

Historically there was government medical experimentation on African Americans in the U.S., so there is a reasonable heightened suspicion of a new, less-proven medical intervention being pushed by the government.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/02/16/black-history-covid-vaccine-fears-medical-experiments/4358844001/#:~:text=In 1932%2C U.S. Public Health Service employees recruited,of the experiment made front-page news in 1972.

I'm very aware of historical experimentation on AA, but this vax has huge uptake [considering how new it is] among most other races.  It's exactly the same vax given to everyone.  So that argument really doesn't make sense here.

Even Hispanics, who are more likely to be vax-resistent in general (and most of the anti-vax people on my facebook timeline are Hispanic), have exactly the same % uptake as non-Hispanics in my state.

Edited by SKL
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10 minutes ago, I talk to the trees said:

The factors which seem to me to be driving vaccine refusal in my area are politics, religion, and low levels of education. These factors are so entangled with one another that it is difficult to tease out the primary cause of vaccine resistance.  As far as social clusters go, I think that at this point, even those who could be swayed by a logical and clear presentation of safety data or risk analysis will continue to refuse to be vaccinated because they don’t want to be perceived as somehow betraying their political or religious family/friends/colleagues.

Agreed. It's a very team or herd mentality, which is odd considering they're largely the same people who accuse others of being "sheeple."

People are really weird. And illogical. And inconsistent.

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Even most of the people who were initially vax-skeptical always argued that it was an individual choice.  So I don't see any of that preventing followers from making an individual choice to get the vax.  I do think some of them would resist if the vax were forced, but it isn't (at this point, anyway).

I can only think of 3 adults I know IRL who haven't quietly made that individual choice to get vaxed (AFAIK), and their reasons are:

  • Already had Covid (unsymptomatic).
  • Trying to get pregnant, and unwilling to test the vax on her pregnancy.
  • Housebound elder afraid of vax effects.
Edited by SKL
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Re: risk assessment (an observation that doesn’t go with any one post): 

I notice (100% anecdotal!) that some of the Take Covid Seriously!! people I know personally also seem to evaluate their risk badly, if in the other direction. One such person wore a mask to a party at my house because I could not confirm that *everyone* attending the party was fully vaxxed. I mean, I’m guessing more were vaxxed than not, but I did not quiz all party attendees on their vax status. Now - I do not *mind* someone choosing to wear a mask at my party. Totally fine if that’s what makes one comfy. But IMHO, the likelihood of a fully vaccinated individual getting COVID at a house party where my *guess* is at least 70 % were vaxxed seems pretty remote, AND if you’ve been fully vaxxed, the likelihood of you getting very sick is vanishingly small. So masking under those parameters and quizzing the host about vax status seems like a different type of poor risk assessment. 

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4 minutes ago, Quill said:

Re: risk assessment (an observation that doesn’t go with any one post): 

I notice (100% anecdotal!) that some of the Take Covid Seriously!! people I know personally also seem to evaluate their risk badly, if in the other direction. One such person wore a mask to a party at my house because I could not confirm that *everyone* attending the party was fully vaxxed. I mean, I’m guessing more were vaxxed than not, but I did not quiz all party attendees on their vax status. Now - I do not *mind* someone choosing to wear a mask at my party. Totally fine if that’s what makes one comfy. But IMHO, the likelihood of a fully vaccinated individual getting COVID at a house party where my *guess* is at least 70 % were vaxxed seems pretty remote, AND if you’ve been fully vaxxed, the likelihood of you getting very sick is vanishingly small. So masking under those parameters and quizzing the host about vax status seems like a different type of poor risk assessment. 

I tend to agree. OTOH, at some point it may not be about risk assessment per se, but about the feeling of control: the individual may find it very important that they have done everything they can to prevent getting infected, and this knowledge of having done all.the.things may be crucial for their mental well-being. 

ETA: It's always about the budget: what is the risk vs how much do I want this thing? They must have wanted coming to your party very, very much, and the masking made the budget balance in their mind. Another thing they may skip entirely if the payoff isn't that big to them.

Edited by regentrude
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2 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I tend to agree. OTOH, at some point it may not be about risk assessment per se, but about the feeling of control: the individual may find it very important that they have done everything they can to prevent getting infected, and this knowledge of having done all.the.things may be crucial for their mental well-being. 

That’s an excellent point and was a big factor in my own choices before there was a widely-available vaccine. If I got COVID, I didn’t want it to be because I was careless. I would say that was a large factor in my own desire for the vaccine - here was something I could proactively choose my self that would dramatically decrease my odds of getting/being very sick with covid. 

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13 minutes ago, Quill said:

Re: risk assessment (an observation that doesn’t go with any one post): 

I notice (100% anecdotal!) that some of the Take Covid Seriously!! people I know personally also seem to evaluate their risk badly, if in the other direction. One such person wore a mask to a party at my house because I could not confirm that *everyone* attending the party was fully vaxxed. I mean, I’m guessing more were vaxxed than not, but I did not quiz all party attendees on their vax status. Now - I do not *mind* someone choosing to wear a mask at my party. Totally fine if that’s what makes one comfy. But IMHO, the likelihood of a fully vaccinated individual getting COVID at a house party where my *guess* is at least 70 % were vaxxed seems pretty remote, AND if you’ve been fully vaxxed, the likelihood of you getting very sick is vanishingly small. So masking under those parameters and quizzing the host about vax status seems like a different type of poor risk assessment. 

Do they have unvaccinated family members they are worried about spreading it to, even if their own case was mild? Or high risk family members who may not have a great immune response to the vaccine? Family members or coworkers on immune suppressant medication? They themselves on an immune suppressant medication, or have underlying health problem?

Lots of reasons I'd wear a mask too, to a party indoors of mixed vaccinated and unvaccinated. 

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Interesting.  Some of the other factors mentioned, in particular risk assessment due to population density and religion may be a factor here.   

I'm in a suburban/rural area of NJ but that's not saying much.  My county is 482 sq miles and has a population of 500,000, so the population density is definitely there.    There's also not the religious pressure here.  Progressive/liberal Christian outnumbers Conservative Christian and that doesn't even consider all the other religions and the non-religious (which I've seen at least one survey where "none" was the most prevalent religion here).  

We were also hit hard in the beginning of the pandemic so I'm sure that has a strong bearing on risk assessment.  

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2 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

 

Lots of reasons I'd wear a mask too, to a party indoors of mixed vaccinated and unvaccinated. 

I agree.  I do think if I were unsure about other guests and numbers were rising in an area, I'd probably just decline rather than quiz a host on their guests vaccine status.  But I don't blame people feeling more cautious either.  You don't always know their health or family situation or maybe they skew anxious.  There is still a lot we don't know.  Some other hosts are just having get togethers with vaccinated people maybe outdoors.  We have still done very little.  I haven't sat indoors in a restaurant since before covid still.  We have done a couple patio things.  Our teen is back to some activities and in person stuff and that has felt like a good step towards normalcy.  Delta is making me a bit nervous though.  

Where I am, I honestly don't know anyone we might see in person who is not vaccinated.  My dd is in a summer theater thing.  All 24 cast members and their families are vaccinated.  

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It's impossible to generalize but based on the people I know, I think it's about identity. People are getting vaxxed because the group that they belong to is getting vaxxed and vice versa. Although I don't think that holds for elderly people here. Elderly people are more likely to be vaccinated even if they are in a non-vax group. 

To illustrate the divide, we recently spoke to the Episcopal priest (we've begun going there) and I asked if most of the people were vaccinated. He responded that almost everyone there was vaccinated. At our old (crazy) church, most of the people are vaccinated, even people who are high risk. A friend asked some of them why they aren't vaccinated and don't mask. It was a religious issue for them. They trusted God so didn't need to be vaxxed or wear a mask. To them, wearing a mask and getting the vax was a sign of doubting God. That's nuts, of course. Do those people receive medical care? Yes. Do they take meds? Yes. It makes no sense because it's about identity. Undergoing chemotherapy is not about identity. At least not yet. I wonder if avoiding mainstream medical treatment will start to be part of the identity too. It's possible knowing these people. 

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I do agree some people are over-cautious, but perhaps they have their reasons.  I feel badly for people who can't relax no matter what, but that is probably not really about Covid.

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37 minutes ago, Quill said:

Re: risk assessment (an observation that doesn’t go with any one post): 

I notice (100% anecdotal!) that some of the Take Covid Seriously!! people I know personally also seem to evaluate their risk badly, if in the other direction. One such person wore a mask to a party at my house because I could not confirm that *everyone* attending the party was fully vaxxed. I mean, I’m guessing more were vaxxed than not, but I did not quiz all party attendees on their vax status. Now - I do not *mind* someone choosing to wear a mask at my party. Totally fine if that’s what makes one comfy. But IMHO, the likelihood of a fully vaccinated individual getting COVID at a house party where my *guess* is at least 70 % were vaxxed seems pretty remote, AND if you’ve been fully vaxxed, the likelihood of you getting very sick is vanishingly small. So masking under those parameters and quizzing the host about vax status seems like a different type of poor risk assessment. 

Meh.  I find it helpful to have guidelines for myself, and that's one I'm currently following.  If I'm inside with people of unknown vaccination status, then I wear a mask.  And I don't give too hoots what anyone thinks about it.  I am currently the ONLY person ever masking at my fitness studio.  Probably because other cautious people just aren't going.  But I am *loving* being back, and the mask (an N99 Happy Mask that is perhaps not perfectly fitted but I feel at least affords *me* some protection from others) makes me feel better about being in a small room full of people breathing heavily.

And I attended a memorial the other day similar to your party.  I figured most people were vaxxed, but I wasn't going to go around quizzing people, so I wore mine.  I was one of three - me, dh, and one other woman who seemed super-relieved that I wore one, as I think she was feeling peer pressure to take it off till she saw me.  (ETA: this was actually at a lunch at a home afterwards - at the memorial service itself, the majority were masked.  What is it about going inside someone's home that suddenly makes it less risky than sitting in a service with the exact same people?  Now, that's some odd risk-assessment thinking, imho)

Having a guideline like this is much easier for me mentally than individually risk-assessing every single situation.  So currently, outside generally or inside with people I am sure are vaxed, no mask, inside with those of unknown status, mask.  Considering the post I just saw in another thread that  Israel is reporting Pfizer is only like 39% protective against getting sick with Delta, I'm getting more wary, not less...  so no, I don't want to be inside with unvaxed people.  I haven't spent a year and a half being ultra-cautious to get it at a party now.  Not.worth.it.

Regentrude's probably right that it likely partly to do with a feeling of control, and at least if I did get it I've done everything I can.  But also I'm now seeing my parents unmasked who are vaxed but elderly, and again, the Delta numbers in vaxed people, including being able to pass it on to others, are the opposite of encouraging. 

Edited by Matryoshka
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6 minutes ago, ieta_cassiopeia said:

I would definitely wear a mask to an indoor party, but consider it rude to ask about other people's vaccination status before doing so.

I feel that this may be shifting. Just had that conversation at an event this past weekend when I apologized to the folks sitting close to me that this might be a rude question and inquired whether they were vaccinated. They laughed and said, it's not rude to ask "do you carry a horribly contagious disease".
I observed many scenarios where people volunteered vax status of themselves or guests at a function, and I feel this is becoming a social norm at least in Covid-cautious circles. (ETA: If I host, I assure my guests about the vax status of myself and other guests as a matter of courtesy)

Edited by regentrude
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2 hours ago, regentrude said:

Educational level is possibly a factor

I don't feel comfortable saying this, but this is the reason that we see the "vaccination divide", in my opinion. Saying so has not earned me any friends IRL 😉

 

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4 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I feel that this may be shifting. Just had that conversation at an event this past weekend when I apologized to the folks sitting close to me that this might be a rude question and inquired whether they were vaccinated. They laughed and said, it's not rude to ask "do you carry a horribly contagious disease".
I observed many scenarios where people volunteered vax status of themselves or guests at a function, and I feel this is becoming a social norm at least in Covid-cautious circles. (ETA: If I host, I assure my guests about the vax status of myself and other guests as a matter of courtesy)

I would never ask, but I have recently been asked by a hostess at an outdoor party, and I didn't mind.  (But I consider her a good friend with whom I share personal info.)  When I was not "fully vaxed," and when I couldn't completely avoid the risk of possibly spreading bugs, I would inform those who might reasonably care.

I do believe my vax status is sufficiently protective that I don't care if an unvaxed person breathes on me.

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

In my state (a swing state), I noticed that 50+ vax uptake is a bit lower in the very oldest age groups.  Based on people I am close to, I suspect that is due to people being worried about vax effects.  Not that I blame them.  Though they are not getting vaxed, that does not mean they are denying or trying to catch Covid.  Many of them already live a basically locked-down lifestyle, or have other Covid-unfriendly behaviors.  And with such lifestyles, even those who do unfortunately catch Covid are unlikely to spread it around the community.

While there are some people who are anti-vax due to following extreme "info" sources, by far the biggest "divide" in our state is racial.  I am not sure why there is such low uptake among AA, especially given the high level of vax availability.  It's not like you have to go to a doctor or even make an appointment.  You can do walk-in at the grocery stores or drugstores at odd hours, 7 days a week.  I hope someone is studying what this population's pushback is.

The articles say distrust of the US medical system.  I don't know.  The vax has been out for long enough now that even the initially skeptical can see the population isn't dying in droves.  Also, I don't know that AA families are generally anti-vax, which would seem to be expected if they distrusted US medicine in general.  I haven't observed black families keeping their kids away from routine medical care.  So honestly, that argument doesn't fly with me.

To the bolded,  I don’t understand why you say for the over 50s who don’t want to get vaxed,  you don’t blame them being worried about the risks (even though they are in the group most likely to be harmed by Covid and where the risk benefit analysis is overwhelmingly clear),  but then you say you don’t understand why African-Americans aren’t getting vaccinated and that their arguments don’t fly with you. Why are those two things different for you?  I’m at the point now with the possibly unpopular view that I think the evidence and number of vaccines given has piled up to this point that even those with understandable historical suspicion don’t have a sensible argument under that reason anymore. But, I don’t think the over 50s do either.

32 minutes ago, Quill said:

Re: risk assessment (an observation that doesn’t go with any one post): 

I notice (100% anecdotal!) that some of the Take Covid Seriously!! people I know personally also seem to evaluate their risk badly, if in the other direction. One such person wore a mask to a party at my house because I could not confirm that *everyone* attending the party was fully vaxxed. I mean, I’m guessing more were vaxxed than not, but I did not quiz all party attendees on their vax status. Now - I do not *mind* someone choosing to wear a mask at my party. Totally fine if that’s what makes one comfy. But IMHO, the likelihood of a fully vaccinated individual getting COVID at a house party where my *guess* is at least 70 % were vaxxed seems pretty remote, AND if you’ve been fully vaxxed, the likelihood of you getting very sick is vanishingly small. So masking under those parameters and quizzing the host about vax status seems like a different type of poor risk assessment. 

Maybe if this was a few months ago, but if this was recent, with Delta at play, it seems pretty prudent to me for someone to mask at an indoor party. We’ve got records now of fully vaccinated people becoming infected with Delta from outdoor gatherings, so absolutely it does not seem unlikely to transmit at an indoor party. I’m someone who positively does Not. Want. Delta. so I wouldn’t be at an indoor party right now likely at all, and certainly not if it wasn’t small and I knew for sure that everyone was vaccinated. But since that’s awkward and considered inappropriate to ask, we likely just wouldn’t go right now while this is going.  And that is pretty consistent for me, rather than my risk assessment for this particular thing being poor. We were wearing good masks as soon as this started early March 2020,  my kids ride rear facing in their car seats as long as possible, typically until age 4, I don’t take toddlers near bodies of water without lifejackets, etc., etc.I have low risk tolerance in general. 

4 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

It's impossible to generalize but based on the people I know, I think it's about identity. People are getting vaxxed because the group that they belong to is getting vaxxed and vice versa. Although I don't think that holds for elderly people here. Elderly people are more likely to be vaccinated even if they are in a non-vax group. 

To illustrate the divide, we recently spoke to the Episcopal priest (we've begun going there) and I asked if most of the people were vaccinated. He responded that almost everyone there was vaccinated. At our old (crazy) church, most of the people are vaccinated, even people who are high risk. A friend asked some of them why they aren't vaccinated and don't mask. It was a religious issue for them. They trusted God so didn't need to be vaxxed or wear a mask. To them, wearing a mask and getting the vax was a sign of doubting God. That's nuts, of course. Do those people receive medical care? Yes. Do they take meds? Yes. It makes no sense because it's about identity. Undergoing chemotherapy is not about identity. At least not yet. I wonder if avoiding mainstream medical treatment will start to be part of the identity too. It's possible knowing these people. 

While a lot of things go both ways with people doing whatever their identity group does, if they have one, I don’t feel like that’s largely the case with people getting vaccinated right now. I expect that’s the case for some, but for most, I think being vaccinated against Covid is more like your taking meds and chemotherapy examples; people do those because they want to stay healthy, not because of their identity group. It’s not like it’s a neutral choice with unclear data to show which one is astronomically more likely to get you out of this alive and without a hospital stay. I don’t care what anyone else is doing as far as my decision with this, I don’t want to get Covid, so I’m getting vaccinated.

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