The de Beaumont Foundation and pollster Frank Luntz held a focus group on May 12 with women age 18 to 39 who said they probably won’t get vaccinated, to understand their concerns and what might motivate them. Many said they will probably get vaccinated eventually, but they want it to be their decision. Like other people who have expressed reservations, the members of this group said their main concerns are the speed at which the vaccines were developed and the unknown long-term side effects. The two women in the group who were pregnant also said they’re concerned about the impact on their children. Watch highlights and read selected quotes below.
What are your concerns about the vaccine?
- There hasn’t been enough time — it just seems very strange to me how a vaccine could be made in such a short time when there’s a whole bunch of other lists of illnesses that there’s no vaccine for.
- We have no idea about the long-term side effects, because it ain’t been here long term. They made a medicine under seven months.
- I don’t know about the long-term effects, what could happen to me down the road from now? I just feel like I have to weigh out the pros and cons to make an ultimate decision. And I need more information to do that.
- I’m actually pregnant right now, and my health care provider keeps asking me about the COVID vaccine. I don’t feel comfortable exposing my unborn child to a vaccine that was so rushed. I mean, it’s one thing for me to get it if I wasn’t pregnant, but I don’t want to put the undue burden on my kids.
- All my family members that have received the vaccine have had side effects, have been sick from it.
- I’d rather just wait until there’s just longer studies, more data, a longer duration, to see what these long-term effects are, before I put it in my own body.
- I know they said that it only happened to basically 5% of out of the whole 100% or something like that. But it’s like the roll of the dice and I don’t want to get one of these crazy side effects.
Are you more concerned about COVID or the vaccine?
- Since COVID started, I’ve been out, but I have my mask, my gloves, and sanitizer. I’m more afraid of the vaccine, because up until now, I’ve been okay. And I just do whatever the CDC says and wash my hands, keep the mask on, and keep my distance, and I think that’s appropriate. I don’t need the vaccine right now.
- I’m more afraid of the vaccine, because with the vaccine we don’t know. At least with COVID, they know to stay six feet apart, put a mask on, double-mask if you’re not sure, wash your hands, and don’t be around people who aren’t in your house — so it’s simple.
- I can take measures to prevent myself from getting COVID and staying at home. And if I really have to go out. social distancing and wearing double masks and washing my hands. I have control over that, but I don’t have any control over what happens to my body after I get the vaccine.
- I know people who’ve gotten it, and they weren’t sick. A lot of my friends have gotten it. I don’t really know anybody who’s been actually sick and hospitalized from it.
- I would much rather get COVID than get the vaccine, because I’m not so sure what’s in that.
- I want to prevent COVID. I want to prevent death. I want to prevent serious disease, and I want to prevent the strain on our health care system. As a result, I just think the most effective way for me to prevent it is to just still stay home. But I guess there’s not zero risk in staying home. So maybe I should get it to try to prevent that extra strain on myself, my loved ones, and our whole system.
Who would you want to talk to for more information?
- I’d want to talk to a scientist that’s working in mRNA technology. Because it’s a different vaccine than has been produced in the past. And why it was rapid. I want to know the exact science behind it and why it can be developed so rapidly.
- A scientist and not a doctor, to understand what’s going to happen after people get the vaccine and it fades away and their antibodies fade. What’s next? Like why are we vaccinating millions of people when we don’t know what’s next after that? Is there a booster shot? Is there an oral pill for it?
- I don’t trust anyone. Right now we are like the mavericks of the world who are thinking with our own head and don’t want to go with everybody else. Of course, they’re gonna tell us anything to try to get us to go through this. I don’t want anybody to tell me anything. If anything, you can show me data or stats or facts. I don’t want to hear anything from anybody.
- Maybe a specialist in the vaccine, such as the FDA that will approve the vaccine.
- I would want to talk to an actual nurse who has vaccinated people and see whether they’re coming back or not.
- I would also want to hear from politicians, because my drawback with getting the vaccine is it’s a way for the government to track me in a database. I feel like the vaccine is another way for the government to control us.
Who would you trust more — a doctor or a pharmacist?
- I think my pharmacist has a lot of knowledge about the drug that I think is important, that maybe the doctors wouldn’t have as much.
- They pharmacists usually study their medications, what’s given to the to the patient. So that makes me more comfortable.
- If a patient has an issue, they’re going to see their pharmacist, go right into the pharmacy, and pharmacists are more likely to see the patient like in follow-up. And pharmacists are really on the front line.
- I just think that the pharmacist has more oversight over different medicines and the trends in his or her community as well. In addition, I know that some doctors may get some sort of incentive for prescribing or nudging patients to go to a certain vaccine or medication, whereas a pharmacist doesn’t have any benefits of filling the medication. But she has to be knowledgeable about those medications and explain it to the patient when they do fill their prescriptions.
- I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want my family to get sick. But I still have my hesitation because I don’t have a lot of trust in medicine and a lot of medical professionals.
Would requirements for travel and events make you more likely to get vaccinated?
- It would make me more hesitant. When you’re taking away my choice, it makes me more hesitant to get it. If it’s always my choice, I’m more likely to go take it, I’m more likely to participate because I still have that freedom of choice. If it feels like I’m being excluded from society because of a choice I made. Or taking that choice away.
- The only break that I get from my day to day and work is traveling. Typically, I have something planned like a year in advance just to look forward to. So right when the pandemic hit, I had a trip planned and everything’s on hold, and I can’t go anywhere. And that’s how I blow off steam.
- That was one of the first reasons I was like, “I have to get it,” because there is no way you’re telling me I cannot travel somewhere.
- We all want to have the freedom to make our own choices and do what we want to do or go where we want to go and experience life.
What questions do you still have?
- How are we going to be 100% guaranteed that this vaccine can evolve with the different variants, because we don’t even know all the strains or COVID that’s out there? Or maybe they do and just not telling us? We don’t know.
- You can get vaccinated and still end up getting COVID. So why get it if it doesn’t change anything?
- How soon will they be able to know what those long-term effects are?
- What will they do with the data once we’re vaccinated? I don’t think the government should have all that data of our medical individual medical records.
- What’s the long-term goal of the vaccine, not necessarily the long-term health effects. Like what happens after you get both doses? And then it fades? Where’s the world going with all of this?