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Why are people hesitant to get the COVID-19 Vaccine?


Why are people resistant to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

Grand Valley State University’s Anthropology Department accessed an ethnographic study to find out and after drawing conclusions from that study - set out to create messaging it believes can reach the vaccine-hesitant.

An ethnographic study is simple, it’s an observation of people in their own environment. Asking open-ended questions to better understand their concerns and perspectives. Adult West Michigan residents who are vaccine-hesitant or were hesitant and then changed their minds provided their thoughts, and once their voices were heard, COVID-19 vaccination messaging was created addressing their apprehension, answering questions, and building confidence.

The informational graphics are designed to increase COVID-19 vaccine awareness. In particular, providing reasons for vaccination. Those include decreasing variants and reducing the number of quarantines along with protecting the vulnerable and school-aged children who are ineligible to receive a vaccine.

Principal investigator Dr. Kristin Hedges is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Grand Valley State University. She says, “Vaccination campaigns have always been a project of public cooperation. A vaccine can only be as effective as the public willingness to participate and community access to the resource.”

The messages can be found at Kent County along with West Michigan health departments, healthcare providers, and area universities partnered in late 2020 launching the website designed to answer questions about vaccine safety and effectiveness.