Various media outlets have been reporting the news that a survey in the UK has established that one in six will refuse a COVID-19 vaccine. For example the Guardian reports it as follows …
Nearly one in six Britons will refuse a coronavirus vaccine if and when one becomes available, and a similar number are unsure whether they will get one, according to a survey.
The findings come amid a significant rise in anti-vaccination sentiment on social media, and represent a threat to efforts to contain the disease.
The poll was conducted by YouGov for the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).
Point 1: While YouGov are generally a good polling organisation, the fact is this – an organisation with a very specific agenda looking for a very specific conclusion paid for this poll.
I’m not hostile to their agenda, but I do have to seriously question the link between the supposed vaccine refusal and the underlying assumption that the root cause is wholly and completely explained by social media. Notice that all the media articles makes that link.
Point 2: There is no vaccine.
Nobody is recommending that anybody should take one, and there is no data on how safe it is.
Point 3: Why focus on the negative?
The good news here is that the vast majority have no problem with the concept of a vaccine. To be precise …
- Definitely will get vaccinated: 38%
- Probably will get vaccinated: 31%
- TOTAL PROBABLY/DEFINITELY WILL: 69%
- Probably will not get vaccinated: 10%
- Definitely will not get vaccinated: 6%
- Don’t Know: 15%
- TOTAL MAY NOT GET VACCINATED: 31%
- Only 6% offered a hard “No”
COVID-19 Vaccine – The wrong solution
The narrative is one in which the action is to attack social media. Well yes, the vast amount of misinformation and outright lies being propagated does indeed wholly and completely merit that, but my point is this –
- Yes attack the social media platforms, and demand that they clean up their act – but don’t be under the illusion that this is in any way a solution to the coming COVID-19 vaccine problem.
There are better strategies.
COVID-19 Vaccine – The Right Solution
Clearly we live in a world where most will be more than happy to roll up their sleeves and put COVID-19 behind them so that life can get back to normal.
The key to a high update will be easy access, coupled with nudges and gentle encouragement. The big success story that demonstrated how well an easy-access strategy can work is the sudden update in antenatal pertussis vaccine back in 2016.
What the heck happened in 2016?
They simply empowered midwives to deliver the vaccine during regular consultation – net effect, a sudden uptake because it became a lot easier and simpler to get it. No longer did you need to make a specific appointment, it was right there, available as part of a regular appointment that mothers were going to go to anyway.
Imagine a world of nudges and ease of access
You want to go out to a pub, cinema, travel on holiday, go by train, etc… then imagine the motivation that is created by having a card that confirms you have been vaccinated, and that it opens all such doors for you, and instantly removes all the current hassle.
Also imagine the availability of a vaccine in your local pharmacy, an on-the-spot easy to receive vaccination and perhaps even free.
What you will get is a huge update.
That’s the way forward.