Coronavirus (1393) Communicating risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccine (6)

9 November, 2021

Dear HIFA colleagues,

I would welcome your thoughts on where I might get an answer to my question below.

The data from the COVID Behaviors Dashboard suggest the three most important reasons why people refuse the vaccine are:

1. Fear of side effects

2. Wait and see to see if it is safe

3. Don't know if vaccine will work

Other reasons (don't like vaccines, against my religious beliefs, don't believe COVID-19 is a serious illness) are, on the whole, much less important.

The above indicate that the overarching reason for vaccine hesitancy is a distorted view of the balance of risks and benefits. That there are social norms emerging re side effects fear, waiting and questions around efficacy.

Which leads me to ask:

Are public health communication campaigns adequately focused on correcting this distorted view? Are they using methods that help people better understand the risks and benefits?

Is anyone aware of public health communication that communicates this effectively?

So far, I have tried three sources without success: HIFA members, the Communication Initiative and the Vaccine Confidence Project. I shall also ask our HIFA volunteer literature search expert John Eyers (LSHTM) if he can help.

Is anyone aware of other sources I could try?

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,