Vaccine hesitancy is unwillingness or refusal to accept a vaccine even when one is available. Vaccine hesitancy is a general term that is used to refer both to people hesitant to take some specific vaccines as well as the so-called “antivaxxers” who refuse to take any vaccines at all. The media sometimes uses the term vaccine skepticism interchangeably with vaccine hesitancy. Although the term vaccine hesitancy has been used in the medical field since around the late 2000s and early 2010s, it saw mainstream use during 2020 and 2021 when vaccine hesitancy toward the COVID-19 became a significant issue.
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