The Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause over blood clot concerns did not dampen enthusiasm among the unvaccinated as some feared it would, but a sizable portion of the U.S. population remains deeply skeptical of vaccinations in general, according to a survey by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers.

Eagerness to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” actually rose from 31 percent before the pause to 36 percent after it was lifted, when federal health officials determined that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine benefits outweighed the risks, researchers found.

The national survey of nearly 19,000 U.S. residents included people of different ages, races, education levels, and political leanings. Researchers initially speculated that respondents might have had second thoughts about being vaccinated after hearing news coverage of the pause.

“But that wasn’t the case,” says David Lazer, university distinguished professor of political science and computer and information sciences at Northeastern and one of the researchers who conducted the study. “This really is the case not only of the dog that didn’t bark, but the dog that didn’t bite.”

And, it is difficult to gauge even among those who say they will get the shots if they will actually follow through. With some people reporting side effects after the second dose, others may be reluctant to get vaccinated for fear of missing work because of sickness.

“There’s still a lot of people who aren’t necessarily vaccine-resistant but who are stuck in this position where it’s logistically hard to get to a vaccination site, or there may be adverse effects on their life because they can’t take time off to get vaccinated,” Lazer says. “They could lose their jobs.”


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