COVID-19 vaccines in SVG: 5 types of people

By Demion McTair. Updated 12:39 p.m., Friday, April 2, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

The purpose of this article is not to encourage or discourage anyone from taking a Covid-19 vaccine. It could, however, provide an explanation as to current behaviours regarding the available vaccines.

The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines rolled out its Covid-19 vaccination initiative on March 3, 2021.

Since then, more than 11,000 people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have taken at least one jab of a Covid-19 vaccine.

While the vaccines have been readily welcomed by some people, however, there are several different groups of people with different views about Covid-19 vaccination.

The Diffusion of Innovation theory/model will be used to identify and describe the different groups.

According Moriarty, Mitchell and Wells (2014), the Diffusion of Innovation Model/Curve is a classification system developed by Everett Rogers which he used to identify innovation and adoption behaviours.

In other words, it shows people’s willingness to try a new project or innovation.

According to Rogers, this adoption process is identified in terms of personal behavior and
how the behavior reflects the speed with which people are willing to try something new, such as
innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards (Moriarty, Mitchell, and Wells, 2014).

The 5 types of people in relation to Covid-19 vaccines:

The Innovators: in the Diffusion of Innovation Model, these are a small group of the people who readily and quickly explore new ideas and technologies. 

Persons taking their Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: SVG Health

Applying the vaccination situation in SVG, these would be the people who were ready to take their Covid-19 vaccines before the vaccines even arrived. These people usually follow information fed to them by the media and they research to keep themselves abreast of new developments. These people only represent about 2.5 percent of the population.

The Early Adaptors: These are the people who would not have been the first to take the Covid-19 vaccines but would still have taken it early on. These are influential people of one kind or another who who act as references or who may give favourable testimonials about the vaccines. It takes little effort to persuade these people as they are very receptive to change. These represent about 13.5 percent of the market.

Early Majority: These are people who will likely act on reviews and experiences shared by the early takers of the Covid-19 vaccines. They would likely do more research on the vaccines and their effects on people before they take their jab. To reach and engage these people, find out where they consume most of their information and use those channels to reach them by providing more information and more reviews from people who already took the vaccine. This group usually represents about 34 percent of the market.

One of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment’s vaccination booth at Kingstown.

Late Majority: Hanlon 2015 describes this group best by saying: “To generalize, these are skeptics who are not keen on change and will only adopt a new product or service if there is a strong feeling of being left behind or missing out”. As it relates to taking the Covid-19 vaccine, these are the people who have genuine questions and concerns about the vaccine. In a lot of instances, they are either not yet satisfied with the answers to their questions or have received no answers at all. If, however, a lot of people are taking the vaccines, these people will likely come along. These people represent 34 percent of the market/population.

Hanlon 2015 says that these people can be engaged with providing marketing material, evidence, reviews from Opinion Leaders, and case studies to show how it works.

Laggards: It is very difficult to get persons in this group to adopt a new product. They are also usually the last set of people to adapt. They do not like change. As it relates to the vaccines, these people have a very deep and abiding distrust of the vaccines and perhaps even the dominant information available about the Covid-19 pandemic. These people will only adopt new products when there are no alternatives. It takes a great deal of solid evidence or pressure to convince these people to take the vaccines. This group represents 16 percent of the market/population.

Which group are you in?

Demion McTair is a Co-Founder of One News SVG and is trained in Marketing Communication.

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