South Carolina doctors break down psychology behind vaccine hesitation
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – More than half of eligible people in South Carolina have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a milestone taken last week. But even though 50.8% of people have received the vaccine, more than 2 million people still remain unvaccinated, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
State and health leaders said vaccines are key to beating the virus, but despite the attention paid to hospitalizations, deaths and the spread, it was not enough to convince the hesitant vaccine .
“I had very mixed feelings about it,” said Bridgette Hilbert.
Hilbert said she was not confident in the vaccine months ago and was not alone.
“And I was like uhh I don’t know,” she said. “I feel like a guinea pig and I don’t know how I feel about it.”
Doctors said there were many in the “wait and see” category. Others oppose it completely for different reasons. One of them is confirmation bias.
“It’s really that people tend to look to information that already reinforces what they think,” said Michael Sweat, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and faculty director of the MUSC Center for Global Health. .
Sweat said confirmation bias is commonly seen today due to better access to social media.
“A lot of people are just crippled by the potential risks they perceive from a vaccine,” he said. “So they stop and wait. They want it to become more certain before they take a chance. “
Sweat said some people are unconvinced of getting the vaccine until COVID-19 reaches near their homes. This was the case for Hilbert.
“A member of my family died in New York City from COVID in May, when it was at the height of COVID,” she said.
That, combined with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully authorizing the Pfizer vaccine, will allow Hilbert to receive his second dose of the vaccine on Wednesday.