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Survey finds persistent minority resist COVID-19 vaccinations

Original post made on May 5, 2021

A new survey could help Santa Clara County health officials understand what might prevent the remaining roughly 25% of adults from getting vaccinated or completing their second dose.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 5, 2021, 9:51 AM

Comments (28)

Posted by Jon Castor
a resident of Woodside
on May 5, 2021 at 11:14 am

Jon Castor is a registered user.

Thank you for publicizing this study. Hopefully more and more people will come to see the vaccine as a good thing and seek out the shot for their own good and for the good of others. Requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for participation in certain activities that involve close contact with others is certainly going to be part of our future for a while, so the hassle factor associated with that may encourage fence sitters who are not firmly opposed to just do it!

Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on May 5, 2021 at 11:20 am

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

Thanks, Palo Alto Online
I will post on Nextdoor for my neighborhood.

Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2021 at 11:28 am

No heat is a registered user.

For those concerned about side effects - most of us have minimal ones. I took Pfizer. Neither I nor any of the other people needed immediate medical attention. The second dose had very slight effects too; I went to bed early the day after taking it. That's it.

Get yours too: Web Link

Posted by Christian Scientist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 5, 2021 at 11:33 am

Christian Scientist is a registered user.

>> The top three reasons that have held back vaccine-hesitant respondents from getting immunized are due to side effects and safety (45%); not enough research (19%); and lack of time or availability (13%).

^ Side effects and safety + not enough research are legitimate concerns along with the fact that the Covid-19 ivirus is rapidly mutating.

While there are no guarantees in life, until the coronavirus vaccines are deemed 100% safe and effective, there will be those reluctant to get vaccinated.

Besides, the wearing of face masks, maintaining safe distancing, and avoiding unecessary public gatherings were effective measures prior to the release of these new and unverified. vaccines.

Better to be a recluse than take chances.

Posted by MBH
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 5, 2021 at 11:57 am

MBH is a registered user.

The White House Covid-19 Task Force gives on-line briefings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Go to: Web Link

This morning the briefing included extensive information on the safety of the vaccines, including comparing the nation-wide extremely small number of people experiencing side effects compared with very serious medical/physical consequences of getting the virus. They also provided a slide presentation which showed test results demonstrating that the primary vaccines available in the US - Pfizer and Moderna - were highly, nearly 100%, effective against the majority of the Covid strains now rampant in various states.

If you want to get the latest information from the scientists and others who are in charge of the US Vaccine effort, listen to these broadcasts.

Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 5, 2021 at 11:58 am

No heat is a registered user.

Oh yes "Christian Scientist" because *not* getting vaccinated isn't safe either - the lack of vaccination has killed over half a million Americans, something around 1% of Americans who get infected.

Taking the vaccine carries a one-in-a-million risk or less and cuts your risk of infection by 90% or more. That's a fantastic improvement - you're probably more likely to die from a crash crash on your way to get the vaccine than from the vaccine itself.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 5, 2021 at 1:01 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Darwin at work.

Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on May 5, 2021 at 2:27 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

Darwin at work. I love it. A Zoom class I take regularly featured a person presenting some "facts" about dangers of the coronavirus vaccine. Everyone on the call was appalled. In my opinion, getting the vaccine was not just about protecting myself. It was about reaching the "herd immunity" level that would protect others. And, also, Dr. Murthy on the PBS News Hour mentioned that having large numbers of unvaccinated people gives the virus more of a chance to evolve into the new variants that are so scary.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 5, 2021 at 3:53 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by Jane
a resident of Ventura
on May 6, 2021 at 1:02 am

Jane is a registered user.

It is NOT unreasonable at all for some people to want to wait and observe for a bit longer until we've gone a month or two without additional serious side effects popping up. Lots of people have different risk profiles such as family histories that make them more cautious or potentially more prone to those effects.

Stop ridiculing people who are different from you and stop politicizing caution. It just make people suspicious and pushes them away.

Posted by Jane
a resident of Ventura
on May 6, 2021 at 1:08 am

Jane is a registered user.

[Post removed; successive comments are not permitted.]

Posted by Err On The Side Of Caution
a resident of Professorville
on May 6, 2021 at 8:55 am

Err On The Side Of Caution is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 6, 2021 at 8:57 am

No heat is a registered user.

@Jane you're into the realm of the silly here. Even for the fit and young, COVID-19 kills around one per thousand. That's a vastly higher risk than the vaccines, where the risk of driving to go get vaccinated far exceeds the risk from vaccination itself.

Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 6, 2021 at 9:04 am

No heat is a registered user.

[Post removed; successive comments are not permitted.]

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 6, 2021 at 9:30 am

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by CalAveLocal
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 6, 2021 at 10:06 am

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

@Jane, so just out of curiosity - you do realize that first people were vaccinated back in December; so it has been close to 6 months. Why would you suggest waiting longer? I think 6 months is proof enough that the vaccines are safe and effective. Nothing is ever 100% safe and effective, but safe and effective enough...

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on May 6, 2021 at 10:27 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

Great info! I'd add one other category that might cause people to not become vaccinated: People who are simply unsure where to go for vaccination.

I've spoken with lower-income residents here in Palo Alto who don't know where to go. They said that the Santa Clara County COVID-19 website pushes people toward places in San Jose or Milpitas.

I explained that the vaccine is available at local hospitals. Their response is that they don't have insurance with those particular hospitals. I then explain that they can get vaccinated ANYWHERE -- regardless of hospital or insurance. Even then, they aren't sure that what I am telling them is accurate.

It would help if the county and city would explain this clearly. It might help those who are still confused.

Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 6, 2021 at 10:49 am

No heat is a registered user.

@ Nayeli It's worth mentioning that the county vaccination program website Web Link currently lists the Mountain View Community Center as a vaccination site, even if most locations are further south. They've got Pfizer, so anybody 16+ can get vaccinated there at no charge.

Posted by Fr0hickey
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 6, 2021 at 11:02 am

Fr0hickey is a registered user.

Agree with the ones calling for the halt in politicizing this issue. Either we are free to take or not take the vaccine (my body, my choice) or we are not and have the defunded police go door-to-door and round up the unvaccinated.
Your freedom ends where mine starts. Your desire for herd immunity does not include forcing others to take the vaccine.

Posted by No heat
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 6, 2021 at 1:40 pm

No heat is a registered user.

Your freedom to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.

Choosing to get a communicable disease instead of taking a vaccine puts everybody else around you at risk.

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on May 6, 2021 at 3:39 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

The vaccine aside, surveys like the one reported here are not scientific because of the inability to survey a random sample of county residents. Not only are the days of lists of landlines for a given area long gone, cell phones and fractional response rates make a mockery of survey companies' claims. Palo Alto Online can do better than to spread such pseudo-scientific claims.

Posted by Reason
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2021 at 7:13 pm

Reason is a registered user.

I'm going to be very frank about why I haven't been vaccinated yet despite wanted to be vaccinated.

I had Covid before the lockdowns, and while I was not hospitalized, I would not want to get it again. I have had 2 antibody tests, at 6 months, and 12 months after, both positive, the latter fairly recent. At first, I did not get my shot because I was waiting for others more vulnerable to get theirs while things were in short supply. Now I would like to get my shot but don't feel I can yet.

I have reasons related to my personal health history that my doctor has recommended a particular vaccine. Every time I have tried to make an appointment with that specific vaccine, I've been told I can't specify, even though the local PAMF system said I could. I don't want to schedule my week around this vaccine only to have to walk away.

Secondly, I know some people who had it and were vaccinated, and got so sick after the 2nd dose -- and given reports, they are not alone -- they wished they had gotten only one dose. I have read that experts are considering whether to recommend if people who had it might be okay with one dose of the two dose vaccines. I am watching and hoping the guidelines will change for people who have already been sick and show lasting antibodies.

My child had a mild case when I had mine and has not had antibody tests but we're wondering if it might be a good idea first. But Pfizer which is recommended for young people is a 2shot. We don't think there's any point in getting a blood test unless it will be meaningful for a decision for a 2nd shot, and don't want to get a 1st shot before knowing and then be forced to get a 2-dose for school while in online school right now (it's stressful enough without missing a lot of time because of a 2nd dose for someone w/previous infection).

Reasonable updates to official guidance for people with demonstrated antibodies would help.

Posted by Tanya
a resident of College Terrace
on May 8, 2021 at 7:42 am

Tanya is a registered user.

Reason: you can easily find out which pharmacies offer which vaccine and just go there for the specific vaccine (i.e. CVS is mostly Moderna, whereas Wallgreens is mostly Pfizer). At this point in time, you can totally chose the type of vaccine, since there is so much available.

Re getting sick from the second shot, yes, I did too, it is your immune system mounting a protective response, and unlike getting sick from the virus (which can literally kill you and kill others), this reaction ot the vaccine has no further consequences that feeling poorly for 1-2 days.

Getting vaccinated is a personal responsibility and also a public health responsibility. We have people that have serious health base reasons for not getting vaccinated, for example pregnant women, and for now also children (not eligible). When eligible folks are reluctant and do not get vaccinated, they are putting everyone else at risk.

Posted by Reason
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2021 at 9:30 am

Reason is a registered user.

I appreciate your post, but it does not help the situation.It would help if you take a moment to understand the specific concerns.

We are talking here about vaccine hesitancy--I hoped to give some insight into why people who had Covid before may hesitate.Badgering, shaming & lecturing people rather than engaging to solve problems has never been an effective strategy to improve vaccination rates.

Since you understand that getting vaccinated is a public health responsibility please spend some time educating yourself personally about what the barriers are to help other people & helping to lower those barriers.

People who had Covid before they get their shots can get much sicker than just feeling poorly for 1-2 days. They get as sick after the first shot as those who were never infected get after the second & their response to the 2nd can be much worse.
Web Link
"those who had been previously infected responded to the first jab by generating high antibody levels, comparable to the amounts seen after the second dose in people who had never been infected."

A person who had previously been infected was quoted: “I was actually more ill after the vaccine than I was with Covid.” Consistent with the experience of others I know.

I still have a demonstrated, robust antibody response a year later, and other health problems that make the prospect of getting as sick as others I have witnessed in that situation a serious concern.Given my history, I also have little reasons to trust healthcare provider YET still want to get vaccinated.

Updated guidelines 4 people who had previous Covid infection & persistent antibody response to 1-shot (per a dr order) would help address the barriers for a lot of people like me who are waiting now. (If you must know, I also have mobility problems--added to the robust antibody response and social distancing, I am no risk--didn't even give my spouse Covid then)

Posted by Reason
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2021 at 9:42 am

Reason is a registered user.

Additionally, ignoring warning signs about problems faced by various groups will only result in mistrust down the road. It is natural that those who had no barriers to getting their vaccination would be vaccinated fastest. For those who have legitimate concerns, many can be resolved by understanding and lowering those barriers.

Ignoring them is asking for a reason down the road that destroys future trust in such measures.

Luckily, it seems public health officials are working hard to try to understand and work on the issue. I made my post hoping to provide information that others may hesitate to provide, in order to help those in public health working on the issue.

If more and more people who had Covid previously get very sick after their 2nd shot, especially if their concerns and experiences seem suppressed or ignored, if that 2nd shot is actually not really necessary for them specifically, then failing to update those guidelines could ultimately undermine confidence in the public health recommendations overall. I think making an updated recommendation for people who have had previous Covid infection and demonstrated antibody response could help take care of another slice of the remaining group.

Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on May 21, 2021 at 6:00 pm

maguro_01 is a registered user.

Reason's concerns seem reasonable and we may presume are being researched. That very
rare blood clot problem apparently now has a treatment and is known to be also a rare occurrence with warfarin dosage.

Most of the vaccine resistance is politicized and being provided with rationales by a small industry of Web sites making money sowing fear and bogus cures (eg nebulizers and H2O2). Or "political" commentators from the extreme Right. One on Fox has been pronounced an entertainer only by a judge and to not be taken seriously. But when he starts advocating or disparaging a medical treatment in a pandemic, he is no longer harmless. He has few qualifications as a journalist and none as a doctor. We even have to use the word "immunization" with the resistors as the word "vaccine" often sets them off.

It's lucky that the disease is not more lethal, but the number of resistors is still too large in some areas that may end up with many people effectively quarantined. There will always be a few people with good reasons why they can't get some vaccine or another. They are normally covered by herd immunity where they live. That apparently won't work if a quarter or more of the population refuses; indeed the US might not achieve herd immunity and the disease will always be with us.

One Ayn Rand follower told me that we should not be exporting vaccine as he is not his brother's keeper. But, of course, in the case of a pandemic vaccine he is even if his calculation is in his narrowest self interest. The more of the virus that exists, the greater the chance of a dangerous mutation which would make its way here. Political and philosophical differences are one thing, but I believe some of our neighbor's moral compasses are spinning. After things calm down a bit, if they do, here in the US it can be determined what worked and what didn't and how to organize more quickly. Another plague might spread differently. But we need general public buy in and we may not get it.

Posted by James Waters Ph.D.
a resident of Stanford
on May 23, 2021 at 8:42 am

James Waters Ph.D. is a registered user.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) who is also an MD (Opthalmology) announced publicly
that he will not be getting vaccinated because having contracted Covid-19 earlier he is now protected by natural immunity.

To date, only the smallpox virus has successfully been eradicated via innoculation as the other viruses are far more resilient in terms of mutation and potential carriers.

As the coronavirus continues to mutate, booster shots may become standard seasonal precautions like a flu shot

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2021 at 12:35 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

“Men, people of color and Republicans had the highest percentages of resistance.”

I was correct back in May.

Web Link

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