The Facts: The US government and Yale University collaborate in a clinical trial to determine the best messaging to persuade Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Reflect On: Why do people need to be persuaded? Is it possible they have a lack of trust in public health recommendations for good reason?
The US Federal government in collaboration with Yale University held clinical trials to determine what the best messaging would be to persuade Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it is ready. The news of this study does show an interest in finding the best way to persuade people into an ideal decision for the Federal government, and likely vaccine makers, and it also shows that a mandatory vaccine campaign may still be the plan B down the road, as opposed to plan A.
The official title of the trial is, “Persuasive Messages for COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake: a Randomized Controlled Trial, Part 1.”
According to the brief summary for trial:
This study tests different messages about vaccinating against COVID-19 once the vaccine becomes available. Participants are randomized to 1 of 12 arms, with one control arm and one baseline arm. We will compare the reported willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine at 3 and 6 months of it becoming available between the 10 intervention arms to the 2 control arms.
Study participants are recruited online by Lucid, which matches census based sampling in online recruitment.
The study essentially looks at the best possible messaging that can be used on Americans, ranging from expressing vaccine benefits, to using messaging about economic impact, making someone feel guilty or embarrassed for not taking the vaccine, and so on.
The study looked at around 4000 participants aged 18 years and up, all of whom had to be US residents of course.
The various ‘arms’ used in the study when it came to messaging were as follows:
- Other: Control message
- Other: Baseline message
- Other: Personal freedom message
- Other: Economic freedom message
- Other: Self-interest message
- Other: Community interest message
- Other: Economic benefit message
- Other: Guilt message
- Other: Embarrassment message
- Other: Anger message
- Other: Trust in science message
- Other: Not bravery message