People who wear masks but won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine pose a public health conundrum―they are concerned enough about the coronavirus to cover their faces, but aren’t willing to take the next step by getting vaccinated. Just who are they? Consequential enough to warrant attention because they comprise a substantial portion of the unvaccinated U.S. population, according to a new study from the Covid States Project, a collaborative effort by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers.
“They do present an interesting puzzle,” says David Lazer, university distinguished professor of political science and computer sciences at Northeastern, and one of the study’s authors. He offers one possible explanation for the seemingly contradictory behavior: “They’re worried about the vaccine, but they’re also taking some preventive measures to stop spreading COVID-19,” Lazer says.