WINK News: Scott Ratzan Discusses Vaccine Hesitancy and J&J Vaccine

Dr. Scott Ratzan contributed to a segment by WINK News on vaccine hesitancy resulting from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The recent pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may have people thinking twice about getting vaccinated. Reports indicate one person died and at least six others developed blood clots after getting the J&J shot. Misinformation is one of the main factors for people not wanting to get the vaccine. There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there contributing to the hesitation. Mistrust in government and how rapid the vaccine was produced are also a concern for some. The biggest source of this hesitancy in some communities is the lack of a viable source of information.

Dr. Scott Ratzan, who specializes in health communications at the CUNY Institute, believes one way to combat this is through incentives.

“When we start to add in mandates, for whatever reason, you have an allergic effect; fewer people will want to do it because you told me I needed to do it rather than helped me make the right decision to get vaccinated. I have faith in the American people that they will choose to get vaccinated, even those that are laggards in the polls.”

Ratzan said vaccine hesitancy isn’t just prevalent in one demographic or area – it’s happening all over. With the recent pause of the J&J vaccine, he fears the distrust in the vaccine will get worse.

“That will affect people saying well I don’t need the vaccine or what we’ve been noticing in our surveys is this wait and see population. They want to wait and see if somebody else is getting sick or they want to wait and see if there’s still COVID in our community or they want to wait and see how much are they going to get paid to get the vaccine.”

Ratzan encourages everyone to get the vaccine now that it’s starting to become widely available. He hopes all students will be fully vaccinated when school starts again in the fall.