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'People are just unsure': PC professor studies why some are hesitant of COVID-19 vaccine

A Providence College professor is studying why some are hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. (WJAR)
A Providence College professor is studying why some are hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. (WJAR)
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Will you take it? Or will you pass? As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out across the country, some are jumping at the opportunity, while others are opting to wait or not get the vaccine at all.

"A lot of it, and it's understandable, people are just unsure," said Dr. Alexandria Caple, a psychology professor at Providence College. "They're uncertain and they want to know more. I think that's going to be a huge factor going forward, not necessarily to judge someone that they don't want to take a vaccine, but saying, what are your particular reasons and how might we be able to use science and use science and use evidence to kind of alter that thinking."

Caple, who is studying why people are deciding whether to give the shot a shot, said there are several reasons why people are skeptical, including a religious belief, the speed and effectiveness of the vaccine and the perception of the healthcare system and healthcare workers.

"A higher percentage of black Americans are a little more hesitant to receive the vaccine," Caple told NBC 10 News Tuesday. "And a lot of that can tie into particular racial disparities that research has documented in the healthcare system."

But she believes the top reason is fear.

"There's always going to be some sort of hesitancy for new advances in science," adding that this vaccine differs than those in years past, mainly because this is a global pandemic.

"I do think that particular factor does add a little more of a push for individuals to vaccinate," she said.

But for some, the decision to get the vaccine is simple.

"Yeah, I would take it," said Erin Greene of Tiverton. "Absolutely."

"By the time it comes to me, it'll be fine," said Jeanne Derouin of Dartmouth. "I would be more afraid of everyone abandoning all the precautions they've taken because the vaccine's here. I think we all have to still stay vigilant."

Others like Bob Duquette said they will wait a little bit.

"I'm going to wait and see what any side effects might be first," he told NBC 10. "I'll let a few million people take it first."

So, what would change someone's mind?

"Instead of bombarding them with all the scientific information saying, 'This is safe, this is what you should do,' you kind of have to say, 'why are they avoiding it in the first place' and then address it from that standpoint," Caple said. "So really, it starts with understanding the 'why' of the individual and their particular hesitancy."

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