The vaccines are proven safe and are more widely available than ever, but countless Americans still find themselves in the same position as Giese, struggling to convince vaccine-hesitant loved ones of the importance of getting inoculated. Even in the face of what the Biden administration warns could be a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” millions of people are avoiding the jabs or rejecting them outright.Moreover, not all vaccine hesitancy is rooted in personal beliefs or ideology. For many people, practical considerations — seemingly minor complications at home or at their job — may be holding them up. Those things may not be obvious, even to close friends and family.
“Maybe they have to take days off work, maybe have trouble with transportation or child care,” said Gretchen Chapman, a professor of social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon. “Don’t make assumptions about what the barrier is. Listen to them and hear where they are. There could be a reason that surprises you.”