INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS)– Health leaders say numbers are trending upwards both locally and nationally when it comes to who plans to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
In Ingham County, Health Officer Linda Vail said Tuesday afternoon that about 60 percent of those eligible to get the vaccine said they would take it.
“We are seeing, just as we’re seeing nationally is this gradual increase from what at one point in time was about 50 percent of people who said they would get the vaccine, so those numbers are trending up,” Vail said.
Still, concerns arise as some healthcare workers who are first in line to get vaccinated, decline. In terms of what message that sends to people lower on the priority list, Vail said that depends.
“To the extent that people trust the health care system and health care workers then yeah, that’s an important signal to them. That might not be their trusted system. They might trust their faith-based community and so that might be the message and the place where they need to see people being vaccinated, not necessarily within the healthcare system, so it really can vary what message that sends out to folks,” Vail said.
She also cautioned people to consider a number of things when they look at how many people are declining the vaccine.
“When those people decline some of it was because it’s the holidays and if I have an adverse reaction I don’t really want to be sick on Christmas Day. The other is, some are saying you know, I will, but not quite yet. I want to watch this process unroll for a little while longer,” said Vail.
She added, not everyone will get vaccinated when it’s their turn because for some groups, like first responders and healthcare workers, it’s advised to stager vaccinations in case adverse reactions cause them to miss work.
Before making a decision based on what surveys show, Vail said it’s important to understand what those questionnaires are trying to capture.
“The national surveys I think are trying to get an idea of just an overall what can we expect? Our local surveys when we go to an employer, let’s say I open it up to all EMS, then I have all the EMS agents in the survey, so that I have an idea on how many people are coming through a clinic to be vaccinated and can plan accordingly,” she said.
Vail added that some variation regarding willingness to vaccinate should be expected, even within the healthcare system.
“You can’t just assume that the entire medical system, health care system is going to be at 100 percent when the country at large is 50 to 60 percent. You’d expect it to be a little higher and it is a little higher.”
Data shows that as confidence in the research and development process of the vaccine increases, so will the intent to get vaccinated.