UW Economists State Vaccine Hesitancy Could Hamper Herd Immunity
According to a study by Univerity of Wyoming economist, about 20 percent of Americans will likely decline to receive a coronavirus vaccine if and when one is made.
The researchers project that, as a result of this, it is likely the vaccine will fail to ensure herd immunity.
This paper, which can be viewed here, is the latest in a series of coronavirus-related studies conducted by UW College of Business economist Linda Thunstrom, graduate student Madison Ashworth, and Professor David Finnoff and Assistant Professor Stephen Newbold.
The research, based on data collected primarily between March 24-31, involves a randomized controlled trial with a nationally representative sample of 3,133 participants who were asked to state their intention to vaccinate themselves and their children when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available.
The results of this showed that 13 to 30 percent of people would decline a vaccine for COVID-19. People avoid the vaccine. The reason people were hesitant about the vaccine was because of general vaccine hesitancy, distrust of vaccine safety, and vaccine novelty.
Also influencing people’s willingness to be vaccinated is a discrepancy in risk articulated by public officials. For example, those who were given the White House projection with a more optimistic view of COVID-19 risks were less likely to be vaccinated than those given the projections by public health officials only.
Estimates of basic reproduction numbers for the novel coronavirus imply that herd immunity could be achieved when somewhere between roughly 60 and 80 percent of the population is immune, either from a vaccine or previous infection.
The UW economists say that, after taking all factors into account, their epidemiological model shows that a vaccine program in an upcoming COVID-19 season is likely to fail to ensure herd immunity, even if the vaccine is made available to the entire population.
SOURCE: University of Wyoming