The Signorile Report
The Signorile Report
Trying to talk with an anti-vaxxer

Trying to talk with an anti-vaxxer

Caller Tracy from Philadelphia said she's not a "Trumpster," but is a "naturalist" and wears masks

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In a discussion on my SiriusXM show about vaccine hesitancy, Tracy called to say she is “not vaccinated” but is “very responsible” with mask-wearing. And that people like her are wrongly “grouped together” with “Trumpsters.”

Tracy said some people “are just not comfortable with vaccines” and went on to describe herself as a “naturalist.”

We went back and forth, with me explaining to her that there’s little danger with the vaccine but greater danger from Covid-19. Then she started saying she knows people who had Covid and are not doing bad, and only a small percentage die, etc.

I’ve had many experts on my show who’ve discussed how to talk to the vaccine hesitant. Just the other day I spoke with one researcher, whose firm, Surgo Ventures, produced a study that put them into categories:

Covid Skeptics (people who think Covid is a hoax or not worse than the flu); The Watchful (people who are waiting and seeing what happens with friends who are vaccinated); Cost-Anxious (people who can’t take off from work to get the shot or to recover from any side effects or who have to spend money to travel to get it); and System Distrusters (people who believe the medical system is discriminatory and are wary of how they’re treated).

This piece in the New York Times describes the results of the study.

Some people in several of these groups can be incentivized — whether via employers paying them, lotteries or being unable to enter a stadium — and will eventually get the vaccine, the researcher said. The hardest are the Covid Skeptics while the easiest are The Watchful.

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But I don’t think Tracy will get the vaccine, and I don’t even know which group she fits in. When I asked the researcher — who came on the show after Tracy’s call — she admitted it wasn’t so clear cut, and Tracy might fall into a few groups.

In the end, I believe Tracy is with the Covid Skeptics — and thus the hardest group — since she winds up downplaying Covid, even as she claims to wear masks.

Ultimately, I wound up telling she was harming others, allowing Covid to continue to spread, and could transmit the virus to someone who will die. Some experts say guilting or shaming people doesn’t work, and they may be right. But I thought maybe for other listeners, in other groups who might get the vaccine (like The Watchful), this would be helpful. But I’m not sure how successful this was — certainly it wasn’t succesful at getting Tracy to get the vaccine — and wonder what you all think.

Let me know your thoughts.