Using forceful vaccine messages can backfire with vaccine skeptics.

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Using forceful vaccine messages can backfire with vaccine skeptics.

With the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the continuous popularity of the Delta variety, governments throughout the world have redoubled their efforts to persuade the unvaccinated to become vaccinated.

President Joe Biden announced expanded vaccine regulations on Sept. 9, expressing anger with vaccine skeptics, saying, “We’ve been patient, but our tolerance is wearing thin.” And it has cost us all because of your refusal.”

As a communication scientist who has spent the last 30 years researching the effects of media and health campaigns, I am concerned that a frenzy of vaccination advertising may make the vaccine skeptics even more resistant. The straight, harsh messages to be vaccinated that worked for three-quarters of Americans may not work for the other one-quarter of the population. They might, in fact, backfire.

According to research, depending on the audience, some health communication approaches are more effective than others. It’s a lesson that legislators, as well as members of the media, industry, and even parents and relatives, can learn from.

There are five types of people who embrace new ideas and habits, according to research: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. It’s down to the last two COVID-19 vaccines, and they’re the most resistant to alteration.

This group of unvaccinated persons is large – about 80 million people in the United States are vaccination eligible but have not been vaccinated – and they are the ones who can assist the country attain herd immunity. However, research indicates that these are also the ones who will be offended by strong prodding to be vaccinated.

Messaging has the potential to backfire.

People are typically influenced by public health messaging, although not necessarily in the desired direction. In 1999, I spoke before the United States Congress about how forceful anti-drug messaging may be causing youngsters to become addicted to drugs rather than abstaining from them. Similarly, existing vaccine messaging may be provoking resistance rather than cooperation due to its aggressive tone.

Consider this title from a recent editorial in the New York Times: “Get Masked.” Vaccinate yourself. It’s the Only Way to Get Out of Here.” This comes after 18 months of public-health messages imploring individuals to stay at home, wash their hands, and keep their distance from others.

Although they may have good intentions, research in health communication has shown that such directives… Article Summary from Nokia News

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