Credit: Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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With more than a third of American adults hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine, social psychologists are trying to understand the reasons for that reluctance — in efforts to more swiftly end the pandemic, the New York Times reports.

“What they discovered was a clear set of psychological traits offering a new lens through which to understand skepticism — and potentially new tools for public health officials scrambling to try to persuade people to get vaccinated,” Sabrina Tavernise reports.

One team of researchers found that vaccine-hesitant people were much more likely than others to value individual liberties and to distrust people in power. 

“Skeptics were also twice as likely to care a lot about the ‘purity’ of their bodies and their minds. They disapprove of things they consider disgusting, and the mind-set defies neat categorization: It could be religious — halal or kosher — or entirely secular, like people who care deeply about toxins in foods or in the environment,” Tavernise adds.

Top Stories

Jane Mooney, a volunteer physician assistant with the Benevolent Specialists Project, attempts to squeeze an extra Moderna COVID-19 vaccine dose out of a vial during a free vaccination clinic on March, 9, 2021, at Life Center in Madison, Wis. Credit: Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch

Vaccine skepticism was viewed as a knowledge problem. It’s actually about gut beliefs. The New York Times 

Counties at highest risk for COVID harm often have lowest vaccination rates ProPublica 

Pediatricians weigh in on what’s safe and not safe for unvaccinated children NPR 

Walworth County health officials say politics not considered in vaccine outreach Janesville Gazette 

COVID-19 cases up in Holmen schools as parents complain about masking, quarantine La Crosse Tribune 

‘Woo-hoo!’: Business owners ‘ecstatic’ now that capacity limits have been lifted in City of Racine The Journal Times 

Proposal would make vaccine tampering, destruction a felony in Wisconsin WPR 

Restaurants and bars can start applying for federal COVID relief on May 3 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quotable

“The narrative is that Republicans don’t believe in science, and Democrats do. …The danger with Democrats trying to ‘own’ science as a political issue is that vaccines are not a partisan idea.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Dietram Scheufele, an expert on science communication, speaking to the Cap Times 

Data to note

Click on the image above to see Wisconsin DHS COVID-19 vaccine data, which is updated daily.

Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Friday that 43.1% of Wisconsinites have received at least once vaccine dose, including 80.8% of those ages 65 and older. Meanwhile, 33.8% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated, including 75.1% of those older than 65. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents. 

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks indoors and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed — particularly as more contagious virus variants spread. On Friday, the state DHS reported a seven-day average of 623 new cases. The state also reported a seven-day average of 12 COVID-19 deaths, pushing the full toll to 6,823. 

WisContext offers this visualization:

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS has partnered with Vaccine Finder to help Wisconsinites find vaccinations. Vaccinations are generally by appointment only and it may take time to schedule appointments with providers due to limited supplies of vaccines. 

COVID-19 fact-checking

Not sure if something you heard about COVID-19 is true? FactCheck.org offers this page full of explaniners — and debunking of common distortions — about the disease to help you sort out fact from fiction. 

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatch.org

Goodman Community Center, African American Health Network partner to bring education, vaccines to Black community Madison365 

How Wisconsin organizations supporting reproductive health and parenting weathered the pandemic Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.