SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — COVID case numbers are rising and the consequences of that loom over everyone, so people are inevitably asking about the holdouts, those who are choosing not to get vaccinated. From anti-vax myths to old fashioned stubbornness, there are a lot of reasons behind that and changing minds, at this point, will be difficult.

“All of this is hard work,” said University of California, San Francisco infectious disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi. “It was easy at the beginning. Everyone lined up, lots of cars in line. Now this is the hard work.”

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Part of the hard work will be defeating misinformation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website lists any number of vaccine myths, from the absurd – magnetism – to things that could reasonably concern someone.

“For example, there’s a big myth that can sound reasonable about infertility and young women,” Gandhi says. “That’s where OB-GYNs are coming out and talking about how this is not toxic. We have to be compassionate that the messaging out there is really scary, and really misinformed, and really mythologic. It’s going to take time to break down those barriers.”

The other set of holdouts presents a different challenge.

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“I got the impression that they don’t feel that the government should be telling them what to do,” said Livermore resident Laura Salmonson, speaking of those she knows that have not been vaccinated.

What would change their minds?

“I don’t think anything will,” said Salmonson.

And that may be the case, though health officials think one factor could drive them to reconsider, and that is the current rise in cases.

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“I used to think fear wasn’t the right approach, but it seems to be working for some people,” said Gandhi.