An update from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Latest research helps us better understand vaccine confidence among Idahoans

At certain times during the COVID-19 pandemic, Idaho conducted research to help us understand current awareness and understanding of COVID-19, safety precautions, and the COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, the state conducted a survey with 300 Idahoans who are currently unvaccinated. We wanted to understand if they will choose, at some point, to get vaccinated and what would be the reason. And, if they are choosing to not get vaccinated, what has led them to that personal decision?

Some highlights of the survey results include:

  • Many people are in the “wait and see how things go” mindset. This means people will decide, in their own time, when they will get the vaccine. They are not against getting vaccinated, but they may be looking for a trigger (travel, school starting, etc.) or time and convenient access to the vaccine because of their busy lifestyles.
  • Many people also indicated they wanted to wait for a year or so to see how things were going.
  • Most unvaccinated people are not concerned about getting COVID-19. They do express some concern about and the possible side effects of the available vaccines. (Note: Some more common side effects are swelling, redness, and pain at the injection site; fever; headache; tiredness; muscle pain; chills; and nausea. Serious side effects are extremely rare.)
  • For those who are likely to get the vaccine, convenience is a major concern. Idahoans also indicated a preference for getting the vaccine at a pharmacy.
  • Those likely to be vaccinated in the future are concerned about time off work for the appointment OR if they experience side effects. (Note: Gov. Brad Little took this concern to heart and has set the example for other leaders in Idaho. He gave state employees four hours of paid leave if they have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine or if they will be doing so in the future).

According to the research, Idahoans understand vaccine availability and how to schedule an appointment.

  • Availability – 84 percent know the vaccine was now available to all
  • How – 86 percent know how to get an appointment
  • Where – 86 percent know where to get an appointment

If you are not vaccinated, I encourage you to choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19, which can be a serious illness with lasting effects. The vaccines also provide great protection against the virus variants of concern.

If you are looking for a place to get the vaccine that is convenient for you, the department now offers a map of mobile vaccination clinics in Idaho and you can also visit our website to schedule an appointment or find a local walk-in clinic.

As you know, the rate of vaccinations in Idaho and other states has slowed (as expected), although we have reached an exciting milestone: over half of Idaho adults age 18 and older (51 percent) have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 76.7 percent of Idahoans age 65 and older have received one dose of vaccine. 

While we will likely not meet the national goal of at least 70 percent of adults with at least one dose by July 4, we continue to make gains in our vaccine rates, which is important to stay ahead of the spread of the variant strains of concern.

Have a happy 4th of July!

It’s hot out there, so stay safe and hydrated as you celebrate our country’s independence. I hope you have a safe and healthy weekend.

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