Rethinking Vaccine Communications Part One: Vaccine Hesitancy
Mike Kuczkowski, Founder and CEO, Orangefiery, IPR Trustee
Recently, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna both announced results from COVID-19 Phase 3 clinical trials showing efficacy of greater than 90 percent. This is great news. But as with most things in 2020, it’s complicated. 

According to one prominent tracking survey, only half of Americans may now be willing to take the first vaccine. Various polls have offered varying results on this point; a recent poll by STAT and The Harris Poll indicated that 63 percent of Americans said they would get a vaccine if it lowered their risk of contracting coronavirus by 90 percent.

This spotlights a public health problem that predates COVID-19 – vaccine hesitancy and refusal. While vaccines are widely regarded as the greatest public health intervention in history next to clean drinking water, global vaccination rates have been flattening or declining in many parts of the world for the past two decades.

Read Mike Kuczkowski's blog to learn how vaccine hesitancy will impact communications around the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccine Hesitancy: The Next Challenge in the Fight Against COVID-19
Amiel A. Dror, M.D., Ph.D., Bar-Ilan University (Israel), and colleagues
This summary is provided by the IPR Behavioral Insights Research Center based on the original journal article in the European Journal of Epidemiology

Dr. Amiel A. Dror and associates examined concerns surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine hesitancy in Israel.

Researchers surveyed 1,941 healthcare workers and members of the general Israeli population.

Key findings include:
  • Healthcare staff involved in the care of COVID-19 positive patients, and people who consider themselves to be at risk of the virus were more likely to report that they would get the COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Parents, nurses, and medical workers not caring for COVID-19 positive patients expressed higher levels of vaccine hesitancy.
  • Participants from groups with higher vaccine hesitancy expressed concerns regarding the safety of the rapidly-developed vaccine.

Read more to understand the concerns surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and how these concerns relate to vaccine hesitancy.
Guide to COVID-19 Vaccine Communications
Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida, Purpose, United Nations Verified Initiative
The Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida, Purpose, and the United Nations Verified Initiative developed a guide for practitioners featuring research-backed principles for COVID-19 vaccine communications.

A mixed-methods approach was used, including a literature review on vaccine hesitancy and a global survey of 1,600 people conducted from October 4-18, 2020.

Key principles in the report include:
  • Make your content concrete, supply a narrative, and provide value.
  • If messages aren't complete and don't include stories, people will fill the abstraction with stories and ideas that make sense to them.
  • Recognize that communities have different relationships with vaccination.
  • In some societies, people may be fearful of vaccines, but have a strong trust in authority. In others, mandatory vaccinations have created distrust of government authorities.
  • Evoke the right emotions.
  • It's tempting to activate emotions like fear or shame, but more constructive emotions to use are pride, hope, and parental love.

Read the entire guide to learn the complete list of principles for COVID-19 vaccine communications.
Trust in Local Businesses and Local Media Continues to Top National Sources
The Harris Poll
In a new survey, The Harris Poll examined Americans' trust levels of various information sources.

A survey of 1,963 U.S. adults was conducted from November 11-13, 2020.

Key findings include:
  • 62% of respondents "tend to trust news and information from local sources more than national ones."
  • The information source with the highest level of trust was "my friends/family" (87%), followed by "local business and small business owners" (75%), "local TV news" (64%), and "local newspapers and websites" (64%).

For more information on the level of trust the American public has in different information sources, read the 2020 IPR Disinformation in Society report. Along with trust in different sources, this report explores the prevalence of disinformation in the U.S., the parties most responsible for sharing disinformation, and whose job it is to combat disinformation.

Read the full report by The Harris Poll to learn how Americans perceive different information sources.
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