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Why aren’t the unvaccinated getting their shots?

People in this story

(Photo by Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images)
A man walks past a mobile vaccine clinic in New York, the United States, on Aug. 31, 2021.

With COVID-19 cases flooding emergency rooms and deaths on the rise among the unvaccinated, Northeastern researchers wanted to know why a sizable portion of the United States remained weary of or flat-out opposed to vaccines. In their first direct questioning of unimmunized people, researchers learned that wide-ranging concerns about the potential risk of the vaccines, including possible side effects such as blood clots and heart inflammation, were the top reasons given by more than half (56 percent) of the unvaccinated people who participated in a study released Thursday.

There were also worries about how vaccines would impact existing health conditions such as allergies. Some respondents felt that the vaccines had not been tested enough to guarantee that problems won’t pop up years from now.

The following are some of the actual responses that unvaccinated people provided to the Covid States Project, a collaborative effort by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers.

Comments have been edited for brevity:

  • “I’m worried about the effects it could have on my heart, as I saw stuff in the news about it affecting young males’ hearts.”
  • “Severe reactions to vaccines in the past, was told by doctor never to get vaccinated for any reason. Allergic to too many things.”

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