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Study: Trust in doctors and medical profession linked to getting vaccinated

The link between a patient and their physician is a powerful one.
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Whether or not you got the Covid-19 jab likely came down to the level of trust you have in your primary care physician (PCP) or, more broadly, the medical profession, an NYU School of Global Health study found.

The researchers, who published their work last month, asked 1,967 US residents across geographic, racial, gender, class, and educational demographics whether they would get the Covid vaccine—first in April 2021, then again in June 2022. They found that respondents who were enthusiastic to get the vaccine, and later the booster, often reported having high levels of trust in their PCP.

“I think the most surprising thing for me was this idea, the role that someone’s own doctor could play here,” Diana Silver, a coauthor of the study and codirector of the Public Health Policy Research Lab at NYU School of Global Health, told Healthcare Brew. “The message going forward is not to leave doctors on the sidelines.”

The study revealed another trend, too: Respondents who hadn’t decided to take the vaccine in April 2021 but changed their mind by June 2022 typically felt a strong sense of trust in the medical profession.

“There’s a lot of distrust and a lot of misinformation […] that point to [the notion that] the medical profession may be lying,” Silver said.

Respondents who didn’t fall into that camp and saw the medical profession as legitimate “were more likely to switch” and take the vaccine, Silver said.

In the event of another national health emergency, Silver said the study’s findings could guide how the government makes appeals to the public.

“The primary care workforce may, in particular, play an important role, given that many have long-standing relationships with their patients and have built trust,” Silver said in a statement.

Navigate the healthcare industry

Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.