How to increase COVID-19 vaccination through effective communication

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bisma Naveed, a 4th year medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College, Pakistan. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Vaccine hesitancy is now recognized as a threat to global health and is defined as a resistance to or questioning of immunization. It is significant to address vaccine hesitancy directly before people who are hesitant become vaccine refusers or anti-vaccine. Fortunately, with evidence-based information delivered with a compassionate communication style many of those who are hesitant to vaccinate can be persuaded to ultimately vaccinate.

The COVID-19 vaccine-related conspiracy theories (e.g., falsehoods about birth control, women infertility, surveillance, and microchip humanity, etc.) have built new momentum for vaccine hesitancy. To this end, several nations worldwide are struggling to boost public trust and enthusiasm to get vaccinated, especially in an anxious and complicated atmosphere propelled by multiple, new and the deadliest variants of COVID-19.

To address this critical research gap during these intensifying conditions of vaccine hesitancy, the present study makes the first attempt to explore the potential effects of various communication strategies, including public service message (safety benefits versus fear appraisals), media types (i.e., traditional versus digital), self-efficacy, perceived benefits and threats (susceptibility and severity), on the willingness to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

  • Interestingly, getting fully vaccinated is not a single behavior. If parents express vaccine concerns, the C.A.S.E. (Corroborate, About me, Science, Explain) Model is a valuable communication technique healthcare providers can use to quickly address those concerns.
  • Research has shown use of presumptive language by healthcare providers is an effective communication tool to promote vaccine acceptance.
  • Communication of pro-vaccine messages on social media is also important because many people use this as a source of information on immunization.
  • Emphasizing safety and efficacy.
  • Encouraging parent-provider communication and primary care provider recommendations.
  • Unfortunately, anti-vaccine messaging can be persuasive. To combat this, pro-vaccine groups need to use a collaborative tone and generate content which appeals to everyday people.

A research was done in which a total of 2556 Canadian adults responded to the survey (median [IQR] age, 50 [34-63] years; 1339 women [52%]). The self-reported likelihood of taking an assigned AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccine was higher for respondents given information about their assigned vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing death from COVID-19 (0.04; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.06) and lower among those given information about its overall effectiveness at preventing symptomatic transmission ( −0.03; 95% CI, −0.05 to 0.00), compared with those who were not given the information.

Perceived effectiveness was also higher among those given information about their assigned vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing death from COVID-19 (0.03; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.05) and lower among those given information about their assigned vaccine’s overall efficacy at preventing symptomatic infection (−0.05; 95% CI, −0.08 to −0.03), compared with those who were not given this information. The interaction between these treatments was neither substantively nor statistically significant.

References

Available at : https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol10/iss2/7

About the author

Ms. Bisma Naveed is a 4th year medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College, Pakistan.

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