The international health community has been negligent in ignoring people’s restrictions on vaccines, risk and decision expert Heidi Larson told the World Economic Forum on Monday. A professor of anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Larson also coordinates the institution’s vaccine trust project.
According to her, conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine movements found room for improvement as they were willing to pay attention to people’s fears and exploit them, while scientists and politicians saw reluctance to be misguided. ignoring.
The author of the book “Stuck: How Vaccine Rumors Start – and Why They Don’t Go” says hesitation about the vaccine is normal in human psychology: “Authorities and scientists weigh the costs and benefits of vaccination, but the public is comparing two risks, that of the vaccine and that of the disease. “
Larson, who also advises social media on tackling fake news, says this job has become more difficult as vaccine campaigners have changed their strategy. “Instead of just posting a false message, they ask questions that increase people’s insecurity or approve of posts that express skepticism,” she says.
For CEO of Ipsos research institute Ben Page, another mistake is to believe that it is enough to disseminate scientific information and wait for people to make rational decisions. “Communication must be based on emotion. There is a need to tell stories, add emotion to the facts and use as messengers people who already have the public trust, ”he said.
The recommendation is in line with that of other behavioral science experts, such as the WHO advisory group, which released a guide in December to increase immunization coverage.
According to Larson, research shows that adherence to Covid-19 vaccines is deeply linked to trust in political and health leaders, and the importance of this link increases as trust in authorities is no longer the norm, as this was the case in previous generations.
In the fight against Sars-Cov-2, other factors have contributed to public insecurity, such as the use of technology, the rapid launch of vaccines and recent distribution problems.
However, with the advancement of vaccination campaigns, resistance to the vaccine is declining in many countries, according to Ipsos CEO Ben Page. “In the UK, 6 million people have already been injected and, without news of adverse reactions, confidence in vaccines has increased. We may be starting to turn the corner, ”he said.
Recent research from the YouGov institute also indicated strong growth in the percentage of people wanting to be vaccinated in nine European countries.
For Larson and Page, a successful response to the coronavirus pandemic could be an opportunity to reverse the public’s loss of trust in politics and government.
WHAT BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE SUGGESTS TO RAISE VACCINE ADHESION
ENVIRONMENT (increase membership of those who have no prior restriction)
Location – the closer, known, convenient and reliable it is, the greater the acceptance. In the current pandemic, it is important to avoid overcrowding and contagion
Cost of vaccination – avoid travel expenses and schedules that hamper people’s work
Time spent – allow scheduling, avoid queues, extend schedules
Treatment – prepare healthcare professionals to welcome, ensure safety, and answer questions about disease and vaccines
Information – disseminate educational, accessible and clear messages
Reminders – send emails, texts or phone messages to remind patients that they are about to be vaccinated
Standards – make vaccines the norm, so you have to decide if the person does not want to take them
SOCIAL INFLUENCE (helps convince people in doubt)
Positive visibility – reinforcing the fact that the majority want to be vaccinated, instead of focusing on the minority who refuse the vaccination. Publicize scenes of people vaccinated and place vaccination posts in visible places Window open – highlight changes in position in favor of the vaccine; hearing that others are increasingly adopting a behavior prompts people to make the same arguments – training health professionals to recognize the reasons for vaccine resistance and to eliminate it; research also shows they are more likely to recommend vaccination when they have been vaccinated References – amplify support from opinion leaders – religious leaders, renowned scientists, community leaders Language – prioritize personal stories rather than general arguments based on statistics Aim – to the point that vaccination has a collective effect and protects the most vulnerable
MOTIVATION (prevents the doubtful from giving up)
Anticipation – Confidence in the vaccine needs to be built up before people form an opinion against it. This involves managing expectations and clarifying doubts transparently, including side effects, well before the start of vaccination.
REGULATIONS (for those who are resistant to vaccines)
Mandatory requirement – make vaccination a condition for travel, benefits, work or study. Research shows that strategies that try to change a person’s opinion have little effect
WHAT MAKES VACCINATION DIFFICULT:
fear of contagion at the vaccination site influence of opinion makers against vaccination opposing opinion about the vaccine in groups in which the person participates (church, company, clubs, family circle or friends) excessive visibility of people or theories against the vaccine
Sources: Psychological Science and WHO Technical Advisory Group on Perceptions and Behavioral Sciences for Health