London | You can’t be sure, even if you’re relatively young and fit, that you won’t get seriously ill or struggle with long-term Covid-related problems. This could be the most effective way to strongly encourage vaccine-hesitant individuals, say researchers.
For people who say that they will avoid being vaccinated for as long as possible or will never get vaccinated must be encouraged by highlighting their personal benefit, according to a study published in the journal The Lancet Public Health.
For the study, the researchers from the University of Oxford, tested the responses of a representative group of 18,885 adults in the UK to a variety of Covid-19 vaccine messaging.
“Much of the official messaging around Covid-19 vaccination draws on the idea of collective responsibility — that it benefits all of us to get the jab. But for the significant minority of people who remain skeptical about Covid-19 vaccination, another approach may be needed. Our study suggests that the best approach now may be putting personal benefits front and center in media campaigns,” said lead author Daniel Freeman, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
If people do not trust the safety of the vaccines, they’ll be worried about what getting the jab will do to them. The decision-making process gets dominated by personal risk concerns. The best way to counter those concerns, therefore, is to highlight the opposite: personal benefits, Freeman said.
The team participants were randomly asked to read one of 10 texts, each of which provided different information about the vaccines. Some texts emphasised the benefits for society as a whole; others addressed concerns about speed of development and testing; and others focused on the implications for individuals. After reading their allocated text, participants completed an assessment of willingness to be vaccinated for Covid-19.
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