HWH: Personally I don’t think bribing a person with free lottery tickets and beer is a good idea. What if there is something fundamentally flawed with the vaccines? I think putting a label such as TAKE AT YOUR OWN RISK is more effective. It brings people to attention and it’s accurate. They’re more likely to make an informed choice and feel confident about it, rather than being belittled with temptations of free lottery tickets and beer, that sound more like snake oil salespeople.
With all the controversy surrounding the virus and the vaccines it would be abnormal not to show concern and caution about what’s circulating in the media. What to believe and not to believe presents a challenge for everybody.
When one considers the life-threatening side effects that the pharmaceuticals tolerate and accept in new drugs put on the market, while claiming these side effects may not go away when discontinuing the drug, it’s no wonder that people generally don’t trust them to keep them from being harmed.
The old adage of the benefit outweighing the risk isn’t settling right with many people. It’s too vague. It’s like the lawyers are determining what the media writes and says, and the people sense it’s not genuine.
People can handle the truth; it’s the deception that drives conspiracy theories.
Just tell the truth on what you have.
Nuanced labels are important: Different forms of vaccine hesitancy call for different public health approaches.
Hello Quartz readers,
Back in December, polling company Ipsos surveyed adults in 15 countries about whether they intended to get vaccinated. The results were discouraging. In France, for example, just 12% of respondents “strongly” agreed with the statement, “If a vaccine for Covid-19 were available, I would get it.” Only 40% agreed overall.
But when Ipsos conducted a February follow-up, the percentage of those who “strongly agreed” that they would get a jab had increased in every country—by 23 percentage points in France, 24 in the UK, 31 in Spain, and 36 in Italy. How did those countries change so many hearts and minds? They didn’t, or at least not entirely. Instead, the “vaccine-hesitant” simply became less so.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the WHO, and other global health bodies, vaccine hesitancy describes people who, for various reasons, wait to accept or refuse to take a vaccine even when one is available.
This is a more malleable label than “anti-vaxxer” because it implies that people won’t take the vaccine just yet—but they might at some point, under the right circumstances.
In a recent paper, Scott Ratzan, co-leader of vaccine communication project CONVINCE, wrote that feelings about vaccines can evolve “as people weigh the risks, benefits, and convenience.” Ratzan and his co-authors classify attitudes toward vaccination on a spectrum of vaccine hesitance, which runs from vaccine-ready to vaccine-resistant.
Those labels are important: Different forms of vaccine hesitancy call for different public health approaches. Some US states, for example, are offering lottery tickets and free beer to those who get their shots—creative incentives that are unnecessary for vaccine-ready adults, but might nudge those feeling neutral.
Meanwhile, ensuring vaccines are available in the places we’re used to seeing them (like doctors’ offices) is more effective at helping a vaccine-resistant person become vaccine-ready.
Even beyond this pandemic, Ratzan says public health campaigners should start thinking of vaccine hesitancy in a more nuanced way. He calls Covid-19 “a teachable moment.” —Annabelle Timsit