The Psychology Behind Why Some People Still Don’t Want the COVID-19 Vaccine – WDET

As COVID-19 numbers increase yet again here in Michigan, a few striking truths are emerging. The first is that the delta variant is very aggressive and is believed to be behind the vast majority of new cases of COVID-19, the second is that these new cases are not only happening in unvaccinated people, and the third truth is that there are still so many people currently unvaccinated in Michigan and all over the country. A psychology professor weighs in on why, despite the threat posed by delta, so many people are still refusing the vaccine, and what health experts and the vaccinated public can do to try to change that. 

Listen: Psychology professor David Dunning on why so many people are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine even with threat of delta variant. 


David Dunning is a psychology professor at the University of Michigan. Dunning points out that the reasons why someone might not want the vaccine are as diverse as the unvaccinated population itself. “They don’t know what it entails, they could be scared of needles, they could be concerned about the speed with which it was developed … and ideology is involved at times as well,” explains Dunning. When looking at the implications of historical distrust in the medical community, Dunning notes that it’s important to remember this legacy for non-white communities. “If you aren’t white, you know a history that may make you weary about what the