ATLANTA—The battle against COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy – an issue for nearly a quarter of Americans recently polled – can be won if messages promoting vaccination suggest most people will take it and political motivations did not rush its development, research at Georgia State University has found.
Those who were introduced to messages suggesting most people would not take the vaccine, that it is unsafe, that it is being promoted to gain greater control over individual freedom and that its development is being rushed for political motivations were more likely to say they would not take it.
In an online survey of more than 1,100 individuals, Risa Palm, Toby Bolsen and Justin Kingsland found Americans more likely to get COVID-19 vaccinations when its safety and efficiency are emphasized, confirming findings in other recent studies.
“It’s urgent this messaging be carefully and thoughtfully crafted, taking into account what social scientists have learned about the factors that influence message acceptance,” Palm said. “Public health agencies and others promoting vaccination will see success with messaging that touts the vaccine’s safety, efficacy and social acceptance and the fact that science—not politics—leads its development.”
Urban Studies Institute
Risa Palm is an urban geographer and former Senior Vice President and Provost at Georgia State University. Her research interests are in urban geography and she has done extensive work on the topics of natural hazards responsiveness, urban housing, and urban impacts of global climate change. She has previously held tenured positions at the rank of professor in departments of geography at the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Louisiana State University and SUNY Buffalo. Dr. Palm has published numerous books, monographs, and journal articles, and received research honors from the Association of American Geographers. She was President of the Association of American Geographers and has also served on the board of the American Geographical Society. She has served on several panels and committees for the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences.