Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Vaccine Hesitancy Spans Rural, Urban and Racial Lines Across Michigan

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Image credit: Dr. Rob Davidson/The Committee to Protect Medicare

West Michigan physician Dr. Rob Davidson says some patients want the vaccine but face barriers, while others are adamant in their refusal and many have been inundated with misconceptions.

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As vaccination rates decline rapidly in Michigan and across the country, health care professionals have found it harder to convince remaining Americans to get vaccinated. Currently, half of all eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and in Michigan, almost 60% have received at least one dose. Now, it’s a battle for physicians to convince hesitant patients to put aside their concerns and get vaccinated. 

There’s a lot of disinformation — like intentional talking points about aspects of the vaccine that just aren’t true … What we can do is continue to try to drown out the disinformation with a healthy dose of truth at every turn.” — ER Dr. Rob Davidson


Listen: Dr. Rob Davidson talks about ways to combat vaccine hesitancy to attain herd immunity. 


Guest

Dr. Rob Davidson is an ER doctor and an outspoken advocate for expanding health care access in Michigan and the rest of the U.S. He speaks with hesitant and resistant patients about their vaccination concerns and tries to provide solutions. 

Davidson explains that some individuals want the vaccine, but they do not have access to transportation or the capacity to take time off from work. He says that many of these individuals can receive the vaccine from their primary care physician when they go to get a checkup. “In more populated areas … rideshare programs — Uber and Lyft come to mind — are offering free rides to go get vaccines up through July 4,” he says. 

Davidson also says that he speaks with individuals who are concerned about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. He explains to his patients, “[mRNA vaccine] technology has been around for at least a decade … the safety of that has been well-documented for over a decade or more and the safety trials for the vaccine for COVID absolutely follow the usual, customary safety trials … there were not and have not been any corners cut.” 

Finally, Davidson says he has encountered a group that is opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine altogether. These individuals are adamant in their refusal of the vaccine and many of them have been inundated with misconceptions about the vaccine that are difficult to dispel, Davidson explains. “There’s a lot of disinformation — like intentional talking points about aspects of the vaccine that just aren’t true,” he says. “What we can do is continue to try to drown out the disinformation with a healthy dose of truth at every turn.”

Web story written by Molly Ryan

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