Vaccination Division: Why Proponents Aren’t Reaching Their Goals

Browbeating’s never been a successful strategy and here’s why

Pamela Hazelton

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Photo by @user22281631 — licensed via Freepik premium; chart added with permission

Millions have taken to social media, writing platforms, and op-eds to shun those who have yet to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But there’s a rarely-addressed reason some of them won’t take the stick.

I’m a marketer. I spend the bulk of my days “listening to people,” understanding their concerns, and figuring out how to solve their pain points. It goes beyond researching within specific industries. The pandemic, 2020 Presidential Election, BLM protests — they each had an impact on every business sector, as well as every person.

It’s no secret that I’m a strong advocate for freedom of speech. The lack of it, along with plenty of finger-pointing and the slapping of fact-checking labels on legitimate discussions is a primary reason many aren’t heeding health warnings. And as history shows, it’s nothing new.

In the 1980s, as US states started passing mandatory seat belt laws, 65% of Americans opposed them. Then-Michigan Rep. David Hollister said he received hate mail comparing him to Hitler. It’s easy to forget a time when only 14% of Americans wore seat belts on the regular. While not an apples-to-apples comparison, there are similarities in the public’s refusal to accept that wearing seat belts should be mandatory. Much like masks, they can be uncomfortable.

But the refusal to don masks or get vaccinated isn’t necessarily an issue of a belief or disbelief in science. For some, it’s about forcefulness and perceived bullying.

American adults aren’t that different from teenagers. Sure, we understand there are rules. But the minute you tell us something that goes against what’s already established law, one of three things is going to happen:

  • We’ll accept the new guideline at face value and abide.
  • We’ll step back and take time to analyze the situation and react according to what we think is most important for everyone.
  • We’ll throw our guard up, question authority, and say, “Hell, no.”

Those who opt to question legitimacy aren’t necessarily selfish in their acts. Some have genuine concerns. Maybe…

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Pamela Hazelton

Avid writer, marketer & business consultant. // Reward yourself a little every day. 🆆🅾🆁🅺 + 🅻🅸🅵🅴 🅱🅰🅻🅰🅽🅲🅴