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Detail of 'The Sleep of Reason'. Painting by Goya, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

PhDs the most vaccine-hesitant group of all

A new study from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh in the US revealed that the most educated people were the least likely to get vaccinated.

Published: August 12, 2021, 10:40 am

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    In Germany and elsewhere, those who refuse the jab have been called “Covidiots” suggesting that such people are stupid. And the unvaccinated have not only been shamed, but bribed, excluded from participation in daily life or portrayed as victims of mis- and disinformation campaigns.

    Surveys consistently also found that Democrats were much more likely to report having been vaccinated than Republicans. Republicans, on the other hand, were much more likely to say that they definitely do not want to get vaccinated. Rates were therefore lower in counties that voted for Trump in the 2020 Presidential election compared to those that voted for President Biden and the gap has grown.

    Thus, the unvaccinated are said to be uneducated, poor Trump supporters. But while the unvaccinated may be disenfranchised conservatives, they are undoubtedly also smart.

    According to a new paper by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, the unvaccinated are not the stupid ones. The researchers analysed more than 5 million survey responses, including various demographic details, and listed the people who would “probably” or “definitely” not take the shot as “vaccine hesitant”.

    Some of the findings were predictable – counties with higher Republican support during the 2020 presidential election coincided with higher vaccine hesitancy in the period between January 2021 — May 2021.

    But in terms of the breakdown in “vaccine hesitancy” by level of education, the highest hesitancy were noted among those least and most educated. Those with a master’s degree had the least hesitancy, while the highest hesitancy was among those holding a Ph.D.

    In the first five months of 2021, according to the study, the largest decrease in hesitancy was among the least educated — those with a high school education or less. Meanwhile, hesitancy never dropped in the most educated group – by May this year, Ph.Ds were the most hesitant group.

    The less educated have evidently changed their minds about having the shot while those with the highest level of education in society, steadfastly remained vaccine sceptics.

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