Physicians Could Hold the Key to Improving Vaccination Rates Despite Hesitancies

Physicians Could Hold the Key to Improving Vaccination Rates Despite Hesitancies

Help with transportation, scheduling might help remove remaining barriers for some
a man getting a vaccination

As the holiday season begins and 2022 nears, 30% of U.S. adults aren’t fully vaccinated. Many of the unvaccinated remain hesitant, despite travel plans and consequences like losing their jobs to an employer vaccine mandate.

The 2021 consumer vaccine survey from Deloitte — an auditing, consulting, tax and advisory services firm — polled 3,000 U.S. adults with a focus on how individuals might overcome hesitancy. Respondents represented a wide spectrum, which included vaccinated individuals who were never hesitant, people who have changed their minds about the vaccine and those who say they’ll never get vaccinated.

What motivates Americans to get vaccinated?

Among the main factors that motivated respondents to get vaccinated were conversations with family, friends and doctors. And while trust in doctors varies across race and ethnicity, physicians were named as the most trusted source for public health information across each demographic.

Here's what motivated American adults to get their shots:

  • 59% of former deliberators got vaccinated because of family and friends
  • 30% of vaccinated respondents cited user-friendly scheduling, such as emails from their county with appointment openings
  • 25% of vaccinated respondents received help from a health care practitioner to set up their appointment
  • 11% of vaccinated respondents were offered the vaccine during a routine visit to the doctor

Of those who aren't yet vaccinated but want to get their shots, 34% say they're motivated by seeing others around them get the vaccine safely, and 28% are motivated by conversations with a trusted person.

Physicians could be highly influential

Physicians could play a growing part in persuading the vaccine hesitant. More than 30% of adults reported delaying their routine health checkups in the earlier stages of the pandemic due to concerns over becoming infected. However, the Deloitte survey shows more adults reporting that they’re ready to see their physicians.

From scheduling appointments on behalf of their patients to offering on-the-spot vaccines, health care providers could hold the key to increasing vaccination rates. Here's what respondents said:

  • 70% cited their doctor as being the most trusted source of information on public health issues
  • 56% of vaccine-hesitant respondents are at least somewhat likely to get vaccinated if their doctor offers it during an appointment

It's worth noting, however, that people who refuse to be vaccinated and those who will only get their shots if required are less likely to ask their doctor for information about vaccines.

Remaining barriers include transportation, scheduling

Some of the unvaccinated report being motivated to get their shots. In fact, 44% who want to be vaccinated say they want to do so to protect family and friends. Fortunately, the barriers they name are surmountable.

Here are the barriers that remain for those who aren’t yet vaccinated and are "on the fence":

  • 79% want more reliable safety information
  • 61% could be influenced if vaccination were required to participate in their daily activities
  • 48% say they would get a vaccine if it was offered at a place they were already shopping

In particular, 1 in 5 who want the vaccine say transportation is a barrier. At the same time, 26% of respondents with household earnings of less than $25,000 a year also report concerns regarding transportation and vaccine access.

Scheduling difficulties are another major obstacle, as the survey points to them as a top concern across different demographics. However, it’s a particularly big hurdle for some specific groups: For example, individuals earning more than $100,000 a year had the highest percentage reporting scheduling problems among the listed income levels. In addition, among unvaccinated Hispanic respondents seeking the vaccine, 33% also cited scheduling issues; in addition, 21% of that group also called out disabilities as a significant hurdle.

Methodology: The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions (DCHS) surveyed 3,000 U.S. adults 18 and older — including an oversample of 1,200 who weren’t fully vaccinated — fielded from Aug. 13 to Aug. 27, 2021. In representing several demographics — age, gender, race and ethnicity, income and geographic region — the survey sample was reflective of U.S. Census Bureau data.