Key Conversations and Trusted Information Among Hesitant Adopters of the COVID-19 Vaccine

J Health Commun. 2023 Sep 2;28(9):595-604. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2023.2244458. Epub 2023 Aug 20.


COVID-19 vaccines effectively protect against COVID-19-related hospitalization or death, and 67.1% of the US population is fully vaccinated. However, the disparity in COVID-19 vaccination persists among minority and rural populations who often report greater hesitancy about COVID-19 vaccines. This exploratory study aimed to understand and document trusted sources of information about the COVID-19 vaccine among a diverse sample of hesitant adopters with in-depth interviews. Participants (n = 21) described how information from trusted sources influenced their decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine despite being hesitant. Participants reported health care professionals, family members, friends, coworkers, community leaders, public health experts, government officials, and the mainstream media as trusted sources of information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Participants discussed obtaining trusted information from multiple modes, including direct conversations with trusted messengers and public health communications from public influencers who reinforced the information shared with trusted messengers. Notably, participants discussed having multiple conversations with trusted messengers during their decision-making process, and these trusted messengers often facilitated the participants' vaccination process. Study findings highlight the continued need for clear, understandable information about vaccine side effects, safety, and efficacy to address concerns that contribute to vaccine hesitancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Health Communication*
  • Humans


  • COVID-19 Vaccines