A new study found that the most educated are the least likely to get jabbed.
There has been much debate over how to get the unvaccinated to get their jabs — shame them, bribe them persuade them, or treat them as victims of mis- and disinformation campaigns — but who, exactly, are these people?
Most of the coverage would have you believe that the surge in cases is primarily down to less educated, ‘brainwashed’ Trump supporters who don’t want to take the vaccine. This may be partially true: the areas in which the delta variant is surging coincide with the sections of red America in which vaccination rates are lowest.
But according to a new paper by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, this does not paint the full picture. The researchers analyzed more than 5 million survey responses by a range of different demographic details, and classed those people who would “probably” or “definitely” not choose to get vaccinated as “vaccine hesitant.”
In some respects the findings are as predicted — for example the paper finds that there is a strong correlation between counties with higher Trump support in the 2020 presidential election and higher hesitancy in the period January 2021 — May 2021.
But more surprising is the breakdown in vaccine hesitancy by level of education. It finds that the association between hesitancy and education level follows a U-shaped curve with the highest hesitancy among those least and most educated. People with a master’s degree had the least hesitancy, and the highest hesitancy was among those holding a Ph.D.
What’s more, the paper found that in the first five months of 2021, the largest decrease in hesitancy was among the least educated — those with a high school education or less. Meanwhile, hesitancy held constant in the most educated group; by May, those with Ph.Ds were the most hesitant group.
So not only are the most educated people most skeptical of taking the Covid vaccine, they are also the least likely the change their minds about it…
The top three reasons for not getting the shot:
- Concerned about possible side effects: 49.2%
- Don’t trust COVID-19 vaccines: 49.1% (top reason among those definitely not getting the shot, 59.6%)
- Don’t trust the government: 42.7%
Vaccine hesitancy among American adults plummeted during the early months of 2021 and the paper showed that around 25 per cent of adults were hesitant at the start of the year, gradually falling to 17 percent by May. Younger people are generally more vaccine hesitant than their older peers, except among Hispanic Americans over the age of 75.
A map shows 59.4 per cent of the US population has been vaccinated as of August 14, 2021
This research was supported by Facebook and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research grant.