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Reviews |  Understanding the unvaccinated

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Reviews | Understanding the unvaccinated

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For the publisher:

Re “The unvaccinated may not be what you think they are”, by Zeynep Tufekci (column, October 16):

Quite! Yet another article that reads as an apology for those who failed to get vaccinated. So many lame excuses. No health insurance? It’s free. No general practitioner? The best doctors and epidemiologists in the country – in the world, really – have studied the vaccines and given their strong endorsement. A person of color aware of past abuse and horrific experimentation? There is no connection between that and that. Period. Complete stop.

Afraid of needles? Yes, a lot of people are. We have successfully immunized everyone against polio and many other diseases. Not an excuse.

Side effects? Yes, but minimal, especially compared to lying in bed on a fan. Underlying health condition? There are very few campaigning against vaccination, and they are well documented and publicized.

Why give oxygen to irrational doubts about vaccination? This “hesitation” ranges from ill-thought to delusional. Persuasion efforts are unproductive.

The mandates are working. They work well. They overcome ignorance with science. They save lives. So, it’s time to stop wasting time on tolerance and understanding reluctance and soft persuasion. There is no more room for discussion, debate and opinion. Get the hang of it.

Dirk Durstein
Wilmington, Del.

For the publisher:

I want to thank you for posting the amazingly comprehensive and refreshing Zeynep Tufekci essay. I’ve been vaccinated since April and I’m voting for a direct Democratic ticket, but I feel very uncomfortable with the way people in my social circle, political party, and social media feed talk about no vaccinated as from a monolithic block of selfish right-wing idiots. .

My husband and I both work for nonprofits in Atlanta that have diverse staff and primarily serve low-income black populations. The reality around us aligns much more with Dr Tufekci’s reporting of the unvaccinated as a diverse group, not only in their reasoning and degree of reluctance, but also in their voting habits, race and position. income level than with some media reports. unvaccinated people like “all Trumpers”.

Conversation of opinion
Questions around the Covid-19 vaccine and its deployment.

When I try to share my point of view that the unvaccinated (although maybe not outright anti-vaccines) aren’t all stupid and selfish, it’s an unpopular view in my circles. . Thank you for being willing to share views that may not fit on a ‘side’, especially since the politicization of this virus has already caused so much confusion and anger in this country.

Lindsay Hill
Atlanta

For the publisher:

I have practiced family medicine for over 30 years. Some of the most disheartening conversations of my career have been with patients, many of whom I have known for a long time, who have not yet received the Covid vaccine and are not convinced by my conversations with them to do so.

Zeynep Tufekci’s thoughtful and insightful column usefully reminds me that these decisions often reflect a complex mix of personal beliefs, fear, misinformation, mistrust, and structural disadvantage that is not easily resolved.

What works? Obviously, vaccines require work, as Dr Tufekci notes, not only because of the consequences for the unvaccinated, but also because of the way they allow previously hesitant people to receive the vaccine. Paid sick leave works, so people don’t have to worry about losing their jobs or their income because of the side effects of vaccines. Tackling structural racism in health care works.

Access to primary health care also works, but not in isolation from the above factors. Thanks to Dr Tufekci, I will remember this as I continue to have these difficult conversations with my patients.

James misak
Cleveland

For the publisher:

An interesting article with interesting data. However, the number of people who think Covid is a hoax or who are conspiracy theorists is clearly not small. Otherwise I wouldn’t know as many.

I want to highlight something more important. Here in Arizona we have a large Native American population. If a population has as much reason to distrust the government as blacks, it is the Amerindians. They suffered terribly from Covid before the vaccine. I have been told that they despise the Indian health service.

Corn they have an extremely high vaccination rate. This came both from the leadership of tribal governments and from a sense of caring for other tribal members.

I think that last factor is what is missing for some of us. Too many Americans don’t care about others. The warrants are not there to save the individual. The reason for warrants is that if you catch Covid you are likely to give it to other people as well. This is what we must prevent.

Bob carlson
Tucson, Arizona.

For the publisher:

Zeynep Tufekci’s column on the unvaccinated was a masterpiece of human and scientific thought that our pluralistic society desperately needs – and not just to deal with this pandemic. Reading it, I was ashamed of my own earlier responses to the unvaccinated, which mixed anger and disdain.

His comprehensive investigation of the reasons for vaccine reluctance, including (finally!) A recognition that fear of needles is part of the mix, is the method scientists, including sociologists, take for granted in our research. , but can forget to apply in our daily life.

Science is finding ways to reduce our societal ailments, but like the remedies for organic diseases, we are always looking to get people to take the drugs.

Jeffrey J. Wine
Palo Alto, California
The writer is professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University.

For the publisher:

We must keep in mind an important point regarding the unvaccinated, namely the mortality statistics. About 95 percent of seniors in the United States have been vaccinated because the death rate is high for this demographic and they don’t want to die. But the death rate is very low for a large part of the population.

Younger, healthy people are very unlikely to die or even have severe symptoms from Covid-19. Their calculations on risk and reward are therefore quite different. If the death rate reached 30%, as with smallpox, we would not be talking about hesitation in vaccination.

Mike Manuche
Reno, Nev.

For the publisher:

Zeynep Tufekci convincingly details the multiple reasons why a substantial minority of Americans have refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19. It shows that we need to be much more careful and specific about those who have hesitated to get vaccinated if we are to be successful in promoting vaccination.

When we use the term “unvaccinated” we encourage the idea that those who are unvaccinated are a single, homogeneous group. This assumption undermines public health efforts to encourage vaccination by stereotyping and stigmatizing those who are not currently vaccinated. When we say “unvaccinated,” we are unwittingly “telling” the very people we would like to encourage and support in their quest for immunization.

Allan M. Brandt
Cambridge, Mass.
The writer is professor of the history of medicine at Harvard University.

For the publisher:

One possible reason the most vaccinated group is the over 65s is that the older cohort in this segment of society may have had personal experience of a time when many of our vaccines did not exist, and hence, they suffered from childhood illnesses which could not be easily prevented. They can also remember their parents’ relief and joy when the polio vaccine, for example, became available.

As a member of this age group, I grew up when adults respected and enthusiastically expressed their gratitude for the wonders of modern medicine.

Susan wilgus
Frankfurt, Mich.

For the publisher:

While there are some vaccine refusals that do so out of ignorance, perceived political loyalty, or unwarranted fear, I think the vast majority are simply against being told what to do. This feeling is reminiscent of Patrick Henry’s “Give me freedom or give me death”. The problem, of course, is that your freedom can contribute to my death.

I’m sick of their ridiculous behavior.

Michael kaplan
Princeton, New Jersey

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