As Santa Clara County Approaches Herd Immunity Target, Vaccine Reluctance Persists | New
Misinformation and fear of unknown long-term health effects remain powerful factors preventing some residents of Santa Clara County from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a study presented to the Oversight Council on Tuesday.
The county is nearing its milestone against COVID-19, with 80% of residents aged 12 and over having received at least one dose of the vaccine and 71% fully vaccinated, said Dr Marty Fenstersheib, head of tests and vaccines at the county, to the board of directors.
But a study conducted by EMC Research for the county found that there are persistent pockets of vaccine resistance, mainly among parents of young people and certain groups of men. Conducted the week of June 7, the survey of 28 participants indicated that they were still concerned about vaccine safety, according to the study.
During Tuesday’s board meeting, a representative from EMC Research said its qualitative study of vaccine-hesitant residents focused on a group of eight parents of unvaccinated children aged 12 to 17 years ; a group of seven unvaccinated white men aged 50 to 64; an English-speaking group of eight Latino men aged 18-29; and one-on-one telephone interviews with five Latino men aged 18-29.
In the parent group, many said they were generally in favor of COVID-19 vaccines and were themselves vaccinated, but were concerned their children might be vaccinated. Their concerns focus on the potential long-term impacts on adolescents, including the possibility of infertility or permanent genetic damage. Parents want more time to pass and more data before they decide to get their children vaccinated.
The study also found that parents said their children’s autonomy and preference would weigh heavily on their decision about vaccination. Some said they would eventually encourage their children to get the vaccine, while others said they would wait and see if it becomes a requirement. Parents said they expected vaccination to be mandatory for school, sports and other extracurricular activities. The “exclusion” from these activities would be a motivating factor to encourage their children to be vaccinated.
Parents did not feel an urgent need for their children to be vaccinated, as children generally have a less severe reaction to COVID-19. Some are aware that children can spread the virus even if they are asymptomatic or do not become seriously ill, but obtaining herd immunity and reducing the risk to others are not taken into account in their care. decision, according to research.
Parents have said they are concerned about the accuracy of the information their children get about vaccines. Children are “clearly influenced” by their peers, especially via social networks. According to research, some parents said their children wanted to be vaccinated because their friends had done so.
Most unvaccinated men from different groups view COVID-19 as a real disease, but said the response to the pandemic has been overblown. They want public health restrictions to go away and don’t think they’re personally at risk for serious illness, research shows.
The middle-aged white participants focused on the impact of the virus and vaccines on them personally, but they weren’t very concerned about the effect on the community. Likewise, the men interviewed in the Latino groups had a similar view, but they expressed concern for their families. Many maintain social distancing to keep their families safe, according to the study.
Male participants said they did not trust the rapid deployment of vaccines and the “new” technology behind it. They fear the unknown and potential long-term effects of vaccines more than COVID-19, they said.
The young Latino men said their minds were not completely closed to the idea of ââgetting the shot, but wanted to wait. They don’t feel like they need it and aren’t in a rush, research shows. However, the young Latino participants were won over by the idea of ââbeing leaders in their communities and protecting their families.
Groups of white and Latino men said they were strongly against the idea of ââvaccine passports. They believed passports were inevitable and that there would be future restrictions in the Bay Area for unvaccinated people.
Getting âback to normalâ is convincing for them, but coercion and incentives are not going to sway them, they argued. While the state and county have organized giveaways such as a lottery and free tickets to concerts and sporting events, most men said they are not drawn to the incentives. Some see it as proof that vaccines are flawed if the state has to bribe people to get vaccinated. They believe, however, that “other” people would be drawn to the incentives, especially given the economic hardships associated with the pandemic.
The white men’s group also felt that the messages about protecting their families and communities are manipulative. They expressed concern about complications from COVID-19 that can cause erectile dysfunction.
White men appreciated receiving information about vaccines in a straightforward manner, such as an explanation of how mRNA vaccines were developed and the age of the technology, compared to messages which were obvious attempts at persuasion. . They didn’t want to be pressured or humiliated to get the shot, the study found.
Men from all groups said they generally trusted their doctors, but some said they felt doctors were under pressure to “sell” the vaccines. Some said they would not listen to their doctor if they were “told” to get the vaccine, but would trust them as the source of information.
The county still needs 85,000 residents to reach an 85% vaccination rate – the number, he said, would place it solidly in the herd immunity category and a point where the disease would no longer spread. If the county immunizes 2,000 people a day, it could meet its target by the end of July, Fenstersheib said.
The county is making a big effort to make vaccines available closer to where people live and work in more community settings such as schools and some businesses. They also hope the investigation will help find ways to reach those who are resistant.
Fenstersheib and county health official Dr Sara Cody said there was no evidence the vaccines were causing the types of damage survey participants said they feared. The persistence of this type of misinformation has been one of the main obstacles that county health officials have faced before. At a press conference on Monday, Cody said all the evidence has shown that vaccines are safe and very effective in preventing serious COVID-19 infections.
The drastic reduction in the number of cases and deaths shows the effectiveness of vaccines. Seven-day average of positive COVID-19 cases now stands at 27; in the past two weeks there have been 11 deaths – a 67% reduction from mid-May, Fenstersheib said.
Wildcards continue to be variants of COVID-19, which are mutations of the virus as it passes through populations. The very worrying Delta variant, which emerged in India and is now widespread in the UK, is also present in the US. It appears to be more contagious and is more likely to cause hospitalizations, he said.