How can we convince Australians to get vaccinated?
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in Australia, reports are finding that Australians are becoming more hesitant about getting the vaccine. In October 2020, a report authored by PCHSS’ Professor Anthony Scott and colleagues found that 74% percent of Australians surveyed were willing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. By mid-March 2021, this figure had dropped to 69%.
What is preventing people from wanting the vaccine, and how can we change their minds?
In their recent report, So you don’t want the COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s what research shows will change your mind, PCHSS investigator Professor Scott and colleague Dr Dajung Jun found that the reported side effects from the Astra-Zeneca vaccine and low levels of community transmission in Australia may be contributing to increasing vaccine hesitancy.
Clear information is key
Those who were hesitant to receive the vaccine reported a willingness to change their minds if they saw successful use of the vaccine in Australia or overseas, and were given more information on the effectiveness of vaccines. Few people would change their minds based only on recommendations to be vaccinated from celebrities, community leaders or the government. It appears that clear information on vaccine effectiveness and safety that has been communicated by health professionals, family and friends may be the key to convincing Australians to get vaccinated.
As the authors neatly summarised:
“Providing more information about the effectiveness of the vaccines, seems most likely to be a successful form of persuasion. All vaccines approved by the Australian government are safe and effective. Reporting and interpretation of evidence on safety and effectiveness via the media is a key issue.”