Monday, February 7, 2022

[SHAME ON ANNENBERG FOR IGNORING THE ROLE OF ACTUAL DANGERS] The Role of Trust and Knowledge in Overcoming Vaccination Hesitancy

A new study finds willingness to be vaccinated against Covid-19 is anchored in factors such as trust in health authorities, knowledge about vaccination in general, flu vaccination history, and patterns of media reliance.

By Annenberg Public Policy Center

Photo Credit: Mufid Majnun / Unsplash

In examining why vaccination-hesitant people may change their minds and accept a Covid-19 vaccine, a great deal of scholarly attention and fact-checking has been devoted to what beliefs individuals hold about the coronavirus, which deceptions they’ve been exposed to, and how much they worry about getting sick.

But a study published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) led by researchers from the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) of the University of Pennsylvania suggests that a narrow focus on Covid-19 factors misses critical influences.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Ph.D.

A panel study of more than 8,000 adults, surveyed over time, found that their willingness to be vaccinated against Covid-19 was anchored in background factors such as their trust of health authorities. In addition, their knowledge about vaccination in general, flu vaccination history, and patterns of media reliance “played a more prominent role” than Covid-19-specific factors such as worry about getting infected by Covid-19 in shifting them from vaccination hesitancy to acceptance.

“Trust and knowledge about vaccination are stronger predictors of vaccination than any Covid-specific factors,” said lead author Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. “A communication strategy focused on Covid-specific beliefs and conspiracy theories, while valuable, may be missing a piece. We need to consistently be doing everything we can to reinforce trust in health authorities, an understanding of the nature, successes, and benefits of vaccination, and habitual vaccination behavior.”