Skeptical Health Mavens May Limit COVID-19 Vaccine Diffusion: Using the Innovation Diffusion Cycle to Interpret Results of a Cross-sectional Survey among People Who are Socially Vulnerable

Rachel A. Smith, Curtis Bone, Ashley Visco, William A. Calo, Jessica Wright, Destin Groff, Robert P. Lennon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We sought to identify barriers to COVID-19 vaccine uptake among persons who are socially vulnerable in light of the natural cycle of innovation diffusion. Widespread adoption of a health innovation requires a cadre of opinion leaders to build on successes experienced by early adopters. One type of opinion leader in healthcare are health mavens: members of a community who maintain up-to-date health knowledge and share their knowledge others. We surveyed 139 persons who are socially vulnerable regarding their COVID-19 vaccination intention, and evaluated their responses based on psychological traits captured by two scales: innovativeness and health mavenism. Health mavenism was not strongly correlated with COVID-19 vaccine intention. Health mavens often relied on their own healthcare providers (n = 46) and health agency websites (n = 42) for vaccine information. Those who relied on their faith leaders (n = 4) reported a lower likelihood of getting vaccinated (31.5% vs. 76.0%, p < .05). The observed lack of support by health mavens represents a critical barrier to COVID-19 vaccine uptake; targeting campaigns to health mavens may increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake in socially vulnerable communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume27
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences

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