A Communicator's Guide to COVID-19 Vaccination
Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR, President and CEO, Institute for Public Relations
The Institute for Public Relations has launched "A Communicator's Guide to COVID-19 Vaccination."

UNESCO (2020) has termed this COVID-19 period to be a “disinfodemic,” filled with an over-abundance of information and disinformation. With the staggered rollout around the world of the COVID-19 vaccine, compelling and targeted communications are central to increasing vaccine uptake. Employees and external audiences are increasingly depending on companies to be trusted sources for providing credible information and resources.

IPR wrote this guide featuring more than 100 research articles with nearly 30 contributors to highlight research, theories, models, and research-driven recommendations that will help ensure effective communication strategies for organizations worldwide.

Read more to see the key findings and research-based recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine communication.
Rethinking Vaccine Communications Part Two: Rebuilding Trust
Mike Kuczkowski, IPR Trustee, Founder and CEO, Orangefiery
If vaccine hesitancy is rooted in issues of power and control, this would present an incredible opportunity to do something dramatically different in vaccine communications. An approach that abandons a paternalistic tone in favor of a shared decision-making model.

In July, an interdisciplinary working group convened by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security produced a report suggesting that kind of direction. It urged the groups involved in vaccine development to prioritize vaccine rollout planning and take a ‘design thinking’ approach that put the public at the center of the effort. The recommendations emphasized the need to understand public expectations, earn public confidence in the fairness and even-handedness of vaccine allotment and availability, make vaccines available in familiar settings and communicate in meaningful, relevant and personal terms. It is the closest thing to an applied social science approach among all the various plan documents.

Read Mike Kuczkowski's blog to learn more and discover 12 suggested communication strategies rooted in education and engagement.
Intent to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Rises as Confidence in R&D Process Increases
Cary Funk & Alec Tyson, Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center examined Americans' intention to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and their concerns surrounding the vaccine.

An online survey of 12,648 U.S. adults was conducted from November 18-29, 2020.

Key findings include:
  • 60% of Americans said they would definitely or probably get the COVID-19 vaccine if one were available today, up from 51% who said the same in September.
  • 75% of Americans have at least a "fair amount" fo confidence in the development process today, compared with 65% who said this in September.
  • Black Americans continue to stand out as less inclined to get vaccinated than other racial and ethnic groups; 42% said they would do so, compared to 63% of Hispanic adults and 63% of white adults.

Read more to learn about Americans' attitudes surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Combatting the Disinfodemic: Deciphering COVID-19 Disinformation
This summary is provided by the IPR Behavioral Insights Research Center

UNESCO developed a policy brief detailing main themes and dominant forms of COVID-19 disinformation.

Data was collected from current research being conducted for the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission and UNESCO, which addresses a wider range of disinformation subjects.

Key findings include:
  • There are four dominant forms of COVID-19 disinformation:
  • Emotive narrative constructs and memes
  • Such as textual narratives which mix strong emotional language, lies, and/or incomplete information with elements of truth.
  • Fabricated websites and authoritative identities
  • These include false sources, polluted datasets, and fake government or company websites.
  • Fraudulently altered, fabricated, or decontextualized images and videos
  • These are used to create confusion and distrust using viral memes or false stories.
  • Disinformation infiltrators and orchestrated campaigns
  • This format could include artificial amplification and antagonism by bots and trolls as part of organized disinformation campaigns.
  • Nine main themes of COVID-19 disinformation were also identified, including:
  • False and misleading statistics
  • Discrediting journalists and credible news outlets
  • Politicization

Read more for examples of the dominant forms and key themes of COVID-19 disinformation and tips on how to combat them.
The Public's Role in COVID-19 Vaccination: Planning Recommendations Informed by the Social, Behavioral, and Communication Sciences
Monica Schoch-Spana, Ph.D., Emily K. Brunson, Ph.D., and colleagues, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and Texas State Anthropology
This summary is provided by the IPR Behavioral Insights Research Center

This report examines the implications of social and behavioral science on the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Literature reviews on vaccination, pandemic planning, and health crisis communication were conducted, along with an assessment of current news and social media trends regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Interviews were also conducted with the members of the Working Group on Readying Populations for COVID-19 Vaccine.

Several recommendations for U.S. policymakers and communicators are included in the report, such as:
  1. Understand and inform public expectations about vaccine benefits, risks, and supply.
  2. Earn the public’s confidence that vaccine allocation and availability are evenhanded.
  3. Make vaccination available in safe, familiar, and convenient places.
  4. Communicate in meaningful, relevant, and personal terms, crowding out misinformation.
  5. Establish independent representative bodies to instill public ownership of the vaccination program.

Read more for detailed information on these recommendations and how they should be implemented.
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