Skip to main content

White paper: Understanding and addressing vaccine hesitancy

Garth Graham, MD, Former Chief Community Health Officer

White Paper

White Paper: Understanding and Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy

Achieving Control in the U.S. Today

Download (PDF)

With the pandemic surging all around us, much of our individual efforts have been focused on social distancing and other measures to slow the spread. The scientific and medical community meanwhile, has been working to understand and address SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. With positive clinical trial results being reported for multiple vaccine candidates, we can now look ahead to when we may be able to contain the virus. However, widespread adoption of safe and efficacious vaccines across all communities and populations will be critical to achieving significant control of COVID-19.

Our nationwide survey of a sample representative of the U.S. population was designed to better understand how communities across the nation view the vaccine and attitudes toward getting vaccinated, so we can implement the right strategies to address potential address vaccine hesitancy. We also found that vaccine adoption – and hesitancy – varies by age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, and income-level among other factors.

Based on the findings it is evident that to targeted education and awareness campaigns, which address reasons for vaccine hesitancy — such as clinical trial speed, overall safety, ingredients — can help overcome hesitancy. Additional safety and efficacy data on the vaccines, a successful roll-out among priority populations, and targeted outreach efforts could also help convince many who are uncertain.

Among survey respondents:
  • 28% were interested in a vaccine as soon as it is possible
  • 35% would wait until others had been vaccinated
  • 20% were uncertain about receiving a vaccination
  • 17% did not plan on being vaccinated


Our new white paper discusses key survey findings and shares perspective about COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. In it, we also share an overview of the multi-pronged approach CVS Health is taking to help build awareness and ensure safe and equitable access across communities, including targeted messaging, partnering with health care providers and other influences to amplify safety and efficacy information, and enabling convenient, equitable access.

Related tags

Image source: Licensed from Getty Images, 2020.