Local expert weighs in on psychology behind vaccine hesitancy


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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — According to recent polls, unvaccinated Americans are two times more likely than those who are vaccinated to feel comfortable losing their masks as mask mandates are lifting across the country.

Doctor Paul Luisada, a psychiatrist in Alexandria, Virginia, says some are feeling vaccine hesitancy due to general anxiety around the vaccine. However, others show signs of disbelief in science and strong political beliefs.

“In my practice don’t want to be vaccinated or resistant to the vaccine,” said Luisada. “When I talk to them more often very fixed beliefs, tend to be those people who are doubtful about scientific developments.”

He says people in this category often deny scientific figures like Doctor Anthony Fauci.

“Are finding themselves, not interested in being informed by scientific facts or information,” said Luisada. “The denial of the science behind the vaccination.”

The doctor is also noticing a trend with vaccine hesitancy across the board with flu shots and the COVID vaccine.

“But there’s also a tendency for people who don’t want to have flu shots for one reason or another,” said Luisada. “Also, not, not to want to have a vaccine against the COVID virus.”

For those with general vaccine anxiety, he recommends researching legitimate platforms like college studies or the CDC’s website.

Colin Brody with the Fairfax County Health Department says the county will follow state guidance on mask recommendations but hopes unmasking will promote COVID vaccinations.

“We will continue to follow the masking guidance that was put out by the state will follow the data,” said Brody. “They will obviously still be times that a mask may be necessary but we know that overall, this is happening because the vaccine is working and so it’s a great incentive to get vaccinated.”

For more local stories and news tips, follow @EliseKimTV on Facebook or Instagram.

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