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July 29, 2021

'I just honestly got sick of wearing the mask': Why some vaccine holdouts are deciding to get vaccinated

Daily Briefing

    In interviews at vaccination clinics across eight states, the New York Times asked what motivated the individuals who are only now getting vaccinated against Covid-19—many of whom were "reluctant," "anxious," or "procrastinating" on getting the shot—to finally take that step. 

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    Why the newly vaccinated are getting their shots

    According to the Times, some of those interviewed said they got their shots spontaneously.

    For instance, one woman in Portland, Ore., said she was waiting for an incentive to get her vaccine. Once she heard a clinic at a farmers' market was giving out $150 gift cards, she decided to get her shot. Another example was a 60-year-old man in Los Angeles, who decided to get his shot one day because he noticed there wasn't a line at the clinic.

    Pressure from family or friends was another reason people cited for getting vaccinated.

    Cherie Lockhart, an employee at a care facility in Milwaukee, said she was concerned about the vaccines because she didn't trust the medical system that she felt always treated Black people differently. But in the end, her mother convinced her to get a shot. "My mom has never steered me wrong," Lockhart said. "She said, 'I feel this is right in my heart of hearts.' So I prayed about it. And, ultimately, I went with my guiding light."

    Others interviewed for the Times article said they opted to get vaccinated for purely practical reasons, such as vaccination being required to attend school or go to work without having to wear a mask.

    For example, Audrey Sliker, an 18-year-old from Connecticut, said she got her shot because it was required for her to attend SUNY Cobleskill this fall. "I just don't like needles, in general," she said. "So it's more like, 'Do I need to get it?'"

    Similarly, Cindy Adams, a 52-year-old who works for an insurance company in Des Moines, Iowa, said her company's requirement that unvaccinated people wear masks led her to get vaccinated. "I just honestly got sick of wearing the mask," she said. "We had an event yesterday, and I had to wear it for five hours because I was around a lot of people. And I was sick of it."

    For some people who had reservations about the vaccines, the choice to get vaccinated now was highly personal.

    For example, Willie Pullen, a 71-year-old in Chicago, said he thought he was healthy enough to wait and think about getting a vaccine for a while. "I was holding out," Pullen said. "I had reservations about the safety of the vaccine and the government doing it. I just wanted to wait and see." Ultimately, Pullen said he got vaccinated because he wanted to visit the sick mother of a friend and felt it would be irresponsible to do so without being vaccinated.

    According to the Times, the increase in Covid-19 cases and the delta variant also spurred people to get vaccinated now.

    For instance, Elysia Emanuele, a 42-year-old paralegal in Florida, said she decided to get vaccinated after she noticed case numbers were rising in the state. "If everything had gone smoothly, if we had shut down immediately and did what we needed to do and it was seemingly wiped out, I think I would have been less likely to get the vaccine," she said.

    Similarly, Ronald Gilbert said he doesn't really believe in vaccines and doesn't like needles, but the recent rise in cases convinced him he’d be "better to be safe than sorry." He added, "I feel better having this now, seriously I do. I'm going to be walking like a rooster, chest up, like, 'You got the vaccine? I got the vaccine.'" (Bosman, New York Times, 7/26)

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    Get the facts


    There are a lot of myths and misconceptions circulating about the progress of the pandemic and the vaccine rollout—and these can have very real implications for the United States' recovery.

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