At @RealGoodCenter, we’re thinking a lot about strategies to increase confidence in #covid vaccines. We’re talking with lots of brilliant scholars, and want to share the best of what we’ve learned. Check out these evidence-based insights you can start applying right now.
Many people are hesitant to get vaccinated because they’re anxious about side effects or needles. Social Psychologist Jennifer Howell at UCMerced says we should increase people’s coping strategies to overcome this.
Help people make a plan and think through all the steps of getting vaccinated. Remind them that they've experienced flu symptoms or been vaccinated before, and it was ok.…
When people are scared, their focus narrows to immediate ways to alleviate that fear. Strategies should help people see the bigger picture and refocus their anxiety from fear of vaccines to fear of life without them.
In her work on info. avoidance, Howell found that reminding people of their values (what they care about, what they want for themselves, and who they are) can be effective.…
“You're the type of person who would consider the evidence” or “you want to be able to safely be with your family” are types of messages to consider.
There are lots of scholars studying inoculation theory and prebunking, including
@Sander_vdLinden and Jon Roozenbeek. Telling people to watch out for specific false or misinfo. can protect them from believing that info when they come across it.…
People are feeling a lot of fear and anxiety. Fear-based messages can backfire. Use messages of hope, relief and love that highlight the benefits vaccination will provide, like being able to be with your loved ones, or go to the grocery store knowing you are protected.
There is a lot of anxiety regarding how quickly covid vaccines were developed. People don't understand how we got these vaccines so quickly and there is an empty space where people are inserting their assumptions.
Use stories, metaphors and concrete language to build understanding of the process and that it is safe. Ex: “of course it took longer to develop vaccines in the past because we didn't have the knowledge or technology to move quickly back then.”
Most people have never experienced mass vaccination before. There is a lot of uncertainty around what that experience will be like. @HYLawerence suggests communicating what to expect – where they'll sit, what the space looks like, where to park – can alleviate that anxiety.
Trusted messengers matter. Choose people similar to the community you’re attempting to reach to talk about their experiences getting vaccinated and their decision to do so. We look to our ingroup to set norms.…
Great scholars like @AishaLangford, @NeilLewisJr, @RobbWiller and @Jayvanbavel emphasize the importance of in-group messenger strategies. As you partner with trusted messengers, make sure they share an important identity with the community you are engaging.
Access is critical. Make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated using nudges like defaults and reminders-- from setting up appointments, to thinking through childcare and transportation- @ArunimaKPhD, Sophia Pink, Stanford, Tom Mueller, Utah State
The @realgoodcenter partnered with @purpose and UN verified, and many brilliant scholars to provide evidence-based best practices for communicating about Covid vaccines. You can read those tips here. We will continue to share more as we go! …
Have more insights and resources? Scholars to follow? Drop them below.

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