People who aren't vaccinated - what should they be called?

Continuing the discussion from Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Thread - 2021 Breaking News:

That wouldn’t be accurate though. It may not be that they’re unwilling, it may be that people can’t take the time off from work. It may be that they can’t afford transportation to the injection site. There may be a number of reasons that people are “hesitant” (and maybe logistically challenged) but not “unwilling”.

“Unwilling” has a sort of anti-vax vibe to it that might not be accurate.

IIRC, a significant number are skipping their second dose because they believe the first is enough.

Well, I don’t think “hesitant” is accurate for the people who are anti-vaxxers. There is no way to get an accurate assessment of each individual motivation, so you’re going to have to have broad brushstrokes.

I think “hestistant” is too kind, and that term legitimizes the idea that not being vaccinated is a reasonable choice.

Now, for some people, it is a reasonable choice—people with certain allergies or other conditions, for example. Equally, there will people people who want the vaccine, but can’t get it because they are 15, or have no transportation, or what have you. But I don’t think “hesitant” would describe them, either.

So perhaps “unwilling or unable”?

I just think that a lot of the discussion is treating science as if it were a belief system one could opt into or out of, and that opting out is a reasonable choice, and that’s a problem that needs to be combatted at every step of the way, including adjective choice in news stories.

Outside the US they should be called victims of vaccine hoarding.

I think people who are unable to get vaccinated for legitimate health reasons should be called “vaccine ineligible”. There is no “hesitancy” here - some people are just “avoiding” getting vaccinated, for a variety of reasons (ignorance being the primary one). So, anyone not getting vaccinated due to choice should be called “vaccine avoiders”, because that’s exactly what they are doing and the term does not dress it up in some sort of legitimacy blanket.

Or even “vaccine evaders”, like “tax evaders” or “draft evaders”. From the latter phrase “vaccine dodgers” also springs to mind.

The Unhuggables.

Yep! Even better!

One reason that term is being used is the hope that some of those “hesitant” will stop hesitating and get vaccinated.

I think “hesitant” is already a slightly negative descriptor. The neutral term would be 'non-vaccinated". Hesitant implies that they shouldn’t hesitate.

Anything more negative would, IMO, be alienating and make people less likely to participate.

I think a simple “unvaccinated” will suffice.

The rest of the world should carry on showing the massive net benefits of the jabs. I don’t think there is anything to gain by trying to hang a simplistic label on people that is anything other than neutral.


As others mentioned, there are several reasons people aren’t vaccinated:

  1. They can’t get it because of health reasons (I would call these folks unvaccinated)
  2. They can’t get it due to availability (victims of vaccine hoarding works for me, @AK84 )
  3. They haven’t been able to get it yet due to scheduling or work (procrastivaxxers?)
  4. They don’t want it because of reasons (I can’t come up a name for these folks outside of the Pit, but they are endangering the rest of us with their willingness to evolve new strains. Maybe virus-lovers?)

In the US, there are plenty of vaccines available now. If you look at the rate of vaccination, we’re down by over one million/day from the peak. So, work schedules and health reasons aside, there’s no reason not to get it, but millions and millions of people are choosing not to. Move this to the Pit and I’ll say what I think of them.

imminently infected

Petri People


I’m hoping that more and more employment, services and events will require proof of vaccination. Enough that it becomes a pain not to get the vaccination. For example, some companies will allow those that are vaccinated to stop wearing their mask indoors. Also, some universities will be requiring non-vaccinated employees to submit to regular covid tests. Those sorts of things.

As you sit here quibbling about people who are avoiding the vaccine I am still, probably, at least a month from getting a shot.

Where are you?

I’m on the border of WA and ID and there are vaccination clinics on every corner around (not quite, but it feels like it). It is super easy to get vaccinated now that neither state has any requirements beyond age. You don’t even have to live in ID to get one of their vaccinations. Around here, if you haven’t at least received your first shot, you either don’t care or don’t want to get one.

IMO hesistant is fine. Where I work we still regularly get calls from people who are hesitant to get the vaccine(s) when they have [insert medical condition]. It is our job as a doctor’s office to alleviate those hesitations when appropriate.


Assuming the US: People under 16, people who experienced an allergic reaction to the first COVID shot, and people who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate. Other than the under 16 crowd, which we’re expecting to resolve itself in the next few months thanks to ongoing trials, this seems like the tiniest of groups and should probably not even be bothered to mention for this purpose. I’d be shocked if this group (aside from those currently age restricted) even approached 1% of the population. Does anyone have evidence to the contrary?

Is, or is about to be a non-excuse in the US.

As above, this is pretty close to inexcusable based on the hours and days being served. I’ll give a break to anyone who works 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. All 3 of you. I do believe there is probably a group who have transportation issues making it harder, but I believe that most areas are working on solutions if they haven’t already implemented them.

I can buy the African-American community being wary, as the government doesn’t have the greatest track record of injecting them with shots of goodness, but there are plenty of influential leaders busy working on that issue, so I’ll eventually lose patience with that group as well. Most of the other reasons, ranging from stupid shit to even stupider shit, are just that.

As you noted, if this were in the pit, I’d have a fitting name for the “hesitant” people.