Say it right: measuring the impact of different communication strategies on the decision to get vaccinated

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Background Vaccine hesitancy is a concerning menace to the control of vaccine-preventable diseases. Effective health communication could promote an overall understanding of the importance, risks, and benefits of vaccination and reduce vaccine hesitancy. Methods In this survey, four fictitious newspaper articles addressing an emerging bogus disease and its vaccine were randomly assigned to participants. The first version focused on information about the disease; the second was akin to the first, including a case description and image. The third version focused on vaccine safety/efficacy; the fourth version was like the third, including a case description and image. After reading a single version of the article, participants responded if they would take the vaccine and if they would vaccinate their children. We used chi-squared tests for comparisons and investigated interactions with vaccine-hesitant attitudes. Results We included 5233 participants between August/2021 and January/2022; 790 were caregivers of a child ≤ 5 years old, and 15% had prior vaccine hesitancy. Although most declared intention to take the vaccine, the percentage was highest among those exposed to the newspaper article focusing on the vaccine safety/efficacy with the case description and picture (91%; 95% confidence interval 89–92%), and lowest among participants exposed to the article focusing on the disease with no case description (84%; 95% confidence interval 82–86%). Similar trends were observed in the intention of offspring vaccination. We found evidence of effect modification by vaccine-hesitant attitudes, with a higher impact of communication focusing on vaccine safety/efficacy compared to that focusing on disease characteristics among hesitant participants. Conclusion Communication strategies focusing on different aspects of the disease-vaccine duet may impact vaccine hesitancy, and storytelling/emotive imagery descriptions may improve risk perception and vaccine uptake. Moreover, the effect of message framing strategies may differ according to previous vaccine hesitant attitudes.
Avelino-Silva VI., Ferreira-Silva SN, Soares MEM, Vasconcelos R, Fujita L, Medeiros T, et al. Say it right: measuring the impact of different communication strategies on the decision to get vaccinated. BMC Public Health. 2023 Jun; 23:1162. doi:10.1186/s12889-023-16047-2.
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