Pandemic frustrations focus on unvaccinated Americans


Growing frustration with the ongoing pandemic is boiling, with all eyes on the unvaccinated as the key to getting through the COVID-19 crisis.

As cases approach winter levels, the United States has been left to decide how to treat and treat the millions of people who still haven’t received their vaccines, months after they became widely available.

In response, some have resorted to mockery and joking about the unvaccinated, an approach that public health and psychology experts say is unlikely to change the minds of die-hard activists alike. or those who are hesitant about vaccines.

Experts support tougher actions like warrants to increase vaccination rates and protect the public, although many also encourage patience while acknowledging the increased irritation. President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense & National Security – Milley Becomes Lightning Rod Democrats Hope Biden Can Overthrow Manchin and Sinema On The Money – Presented by Wells Fargo – Democrats move tax plan forward through obstacles MORE and others, however, have indicated that their “patience is dwindling.”

Gary Bennett, professor of psychology, neuroscience, global health and medicine at Duke University, said the “national shift towards much more frustration” directed at unvaccinated people is likely linked to the highly transmissible delta variant. which has increased hospitalizations across the country and led to more prominent cases.

“It seems to be a pretty big factor in this most recent type of concern for this large number of people who are unvaccinated,” Bennett said.

Almost five months after all adults became eligible for the vaccine, about a quarter of U.S. adults, or 62.5 million, have not received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Although more than half of the total population received at least one dose by the end of May, the vaccination rate has not been high enough to curb COVID-19. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths have increased in recent months, reaching daily seven-day averages of more than 152,000 new cases, approximately 100,000 admissions and 1,800 deaths.

“It is clear that there is a lot of human wood to burn for this coronavirus wildfire,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Federal public health officials have repeatedly called the outbreak a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” as a large majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur among those who have never been vaccinated.

But the vaccinated population has also been affected, as cases of rupture increase and health officials recommend masks for everyone, regardless of their vaccination status.

Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of public health at George Washington University, called the exasperation of the vaccinated population “understandable” because they “did everything right” and received their vaccines.

“I think a lot of these people are wondering, ‘Why are we being punished for the decisions of others?’ she said. “Why do the vaccinated pay the price for the unvaccinated?” “

Google trends show a spike in searches for the term “unvaccinated” in early August, after it was previously described as “vaccine hesitant,” said Drew Westen, professor in the departments of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University .

The change came about 10 days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that fully vaccinated people re-mask indoors in high-risk areas.

“It became the term,” Westen said. “Now they’re an ‘it’. They are “them”. They are an “other”. … For 70 percent of Americans now, they are the problem.

Experts agreed that the unvaccinated population is not a homogeneous faction, with two main subgroups – those who still have questions and those who say they will never get vaccinated – leaving the vaccinated to juggle how to interact with them.

Some turned to humor, with a late-night talk show host Jimmy kimmelJames (Jimmy) Christian Kimmel Unvaccinated Jimmy Kimmel’s Jokes Shouldn’t Be Placed in an Intensive Care Bed Fox News Dominates Prime Time Ratings During Afghanistan Crisis Megan Fox: Critics Who Criticized The Trump’s ‘legend’ remark have a ‘burn a witch at the stake’ mentality MORE suggesting that the unvaccinated should be given lower priority for intensive care unit beds than those who have been vaccinated.

But Osterholm warned that the spread of COVID-19 among unvaccinated people is “no joke.”

“It’s life and death,” he said. “It’s not funny. So I think we can certainly make some really strong statements about it, but I don’t think humor has anything to do with it and shouldn’t be used.

In the same vein, The morning news from Dallas The editorial board last week advised readers who poked fun at the anti-vaccine and anti-mask activists killed by COVID-19 to “resist the urge to shout ‘I told you!’ “

“Mocking vaccine skeptics who have been fed misinformation will not convince people on the fence to get vaccinated,” the editorial board wrote. “Our tendency should be to show others that we care about them, not to win an argument.”

Noel Brewer, professor of health behavior at the University of North Carolina, said the approach taken by some vaccinated people may have unintended consequences.

“If you are already angry in a conversation about vaccination, you will have no impact and maybe make it worse,” he said. “If you can reasonably say that you are starting from a point of interest and concern without anger, you could actually make an impact.”

He said having multiple 5-10 minute talks over a month or two increases the chances of persuading someone to get the shot.

Overall, the unvaccinated population is “disproportionately” made up of those who identify as Republicans, young adults, people with less education, people living in rural areas, and people without. health insurance, said Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation, citing the organization’s most recent survey in July.

The national vaccination rate has increased slightly since then as the delta strain wreaked havoc across the country, but the number of new injections has not been enough to turn the tide of the pandemic.

For this reason, public health experts support vaccination mandates and other requirements as the next effort to try to persuade the unvaccinated to get the vaccine.

“I think we want to maintain a position where there is a certain empathy that informs our decision-making, but in this context the best possibilities we have for large-scale change here are really policies that require vaccination.” , Bennett of Duke University mentioned. “I think we’re approaching a point where I think it’s going to be necessary.”

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