General practitioner vaccinating old patient in private clinic with copy space. Doctor giving injection to senior woman at hospital. Nurse holding syringe and using cotton before make Covid-19 or coronavirus vaccine.

The question will soon be before us.

New Zealand has just approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, which has shown 95% effectiveness. NZ has 1.5 million doses on order and the first jabs are expected next month for folks like front line workers.

Large-scale vaccinations would begin in the second half of the year. NZ is also reviewing and has provisionally ordered over 10 million doses of other vaccines (AstraZeneca and Novovax).

Do you intend to be vaccinated when your turn comes?

I’ll come to NZ attitudes in a moment, but first …

In that nefarious den of conspiracy theorists and troglodytes, the U.S., some polls indicate that less than half the adult population is inclined to take an anti-Covid jab at present! Only four in ten U.S. adults (41%) now say that when an FDA-approved vaccine for Covid-19 is available to them for free, they will get the vaccine “as soon they can,” up from 34% in December. 

I don’t mean to be dismissive of those who are reluctant to vaccinate after some considered assessment of safety, side effects or efficacy concerns, but surely they are not half the U.S. population!

The most common concern among U.S. adults who have not yet been vaccinated is that “the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccines are unknown” (68% say they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about this). Majorities are also concerned that they might experience serious side effects from the vaccine (59%), that the vaccines are not as safe as they are said to be (55%), or that they are not as effective as they are said to be (53%).

The leading ‘vaccine myths’ relate to erroneous beliefs that the vaccines contain the live virus and that they cause infertility. 

In the US, resistance is most pronounced among African-Americans, Hispanics, those with lower incomes and rural residents and thanks to Trump … Republicans (33% of whom say they will definitely not get the vaccine or will get it only if required to do so for work, school or other activities, as compared to 20% of all Americans with that view).

Many resisters (39%) are taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude to see how the vaccine works on others and might eventually come around.

Almost half (47%) of US adults have been vaccinated or know someone who has been. Nothing will sell the vaccine like observable results. Research indicates the convincing messages revolve around actual efficacy (effectiveness at preventing illnessa and protection for those vaccinated) and returning to ‘normal life’.

How will this play out in in New Zealand?

study published in Lancet last year described 30% of New Zealanders as “vaccine skeptics” (this study wasn’t specifically about Covid-19).

A Massey University survey indicated that one in four people did not intend to get the Covid vaccine. Dr Ashley Bloomfield has indicated about 20% are “hesitant” about the vaccine, with less than 10% likely to refuse outright. About 70% of people need to be vaccinated to provide ‘national herd immunity’ to the virus. 

He told RNZ: “Once you start to provide really good information from people New Zealanders trust, and from organisations they trust, you find that the group of people who really are opposed to having a vaccine is quite small.”

Too optimistic?

Methinks an important NZ ‘educational effort’ lies ahead.

[If you are a health professional or communicator working in the Covid space, I’d strongly recommend studying this source which has been probing U.S. attitudes and experiences with Covid-19 vaccinations and examining effective messaging.]

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5 Comments

  1. I’m in the “at risk” age group and will be getting the vaccine as soon as available to me. I am strongly of the opinion that those people who decide they won’t get the vaccine should be treated as if they have the virus ie. socially distanced, isolated from mass gatherings etc. This would entail having everybody issued with a vaccine card (similar to the ones we used to have many years ago when we ventured overseas) and the Government should insist that all travellers into NZ should have proof of a similar nature that they have been vaccinated – no proof – no entry – simple and maybe safer.

  2. I won’t be having the vaccine until not having it impinges on my lifestyle choices, such as travel…However, my attitude will change after the vaccine has been well embedded in the general populace without showing any negative side-effects..call me old fashioned but I just don’t trust corporate medicine..

  3. For me, this is not about my personal rights or my personal convictions. It is about being part of a community and doing what is best for that community.

  4. I would definitely be having the vaccine.
    I think that New Zealanders are living in this bubble of safety . Yes we did work hard and sacrificed a lot to achieve what we have but that ‘safety’ is very vulnerable.At this stage the vaccine is the only answer to long term defense against a world pandemic. I will take the vaccine not only to protect myself but those around me – those who can’t stake the vaccine because of immune compromised etc . We need to think collectively and walk the talk of ‘we are one’ and ‘ team of 5 million’.
    If I chose not to get the vaccine – how would I live with myself if I pass the virus to some ones else and they died !
    I know the vaccine has not gone through the normal process but we are not in ‘normal’ times ! By the time New Zealand gets the vaccine – millions overseas have already got it- surely that will add to the perception of safety !
    We will always have a percentage of anti vaxxs and conspiracy theorist – those who cannot change but they should at this stage be held back from flaunting their theories – for the greater good .
    Most New Zealanders wouldn’t know anyone who is positive let alone anyone who has died from Covid .I literally know close to almost 100 .
    I have numerous members in my family who have died- I lost 2 brothers within 5 months of each other – the family members who have ‘survived’ have got long term chronic issues.
    I have lost so many fellow health professionals Collegues and friends that I have lost count. People who I knew as a child,people who I did my nursing training with or who trained me – all gone . Whole families- all gone. So fighting this virus the only way I know how – that is the vaccine – will be my priority.

  5. This is technically not a vaccine it is new untested technology along the lines of GMO plants and animals. Changes your DNA (the God factor) permanently. Drugs such as Ivermectin, Budesonisde and Hydroxychloriquin work. Why do we need a vaccine
    Who is supplying the vaccine? Where did covid come from? China – who is trying to control the world by stealth? Who owns NZ debt, who is buying up land, who is taking our jobs. Slave labour in China. You are more likely to die from the vaccine than the media weaponized vaccine. Fear to control. Deaths are no different in countries than usual. Could they be faking numbers flu down covid up. Will they sign a paper if I take it, that they will compensate me for side effects or death?? We know the answer to that. Says it all. No I would rather die than take the vaccine. No one is changing my DNA.

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