Vaccine Acceptance is the Next Hurdle

Research has shown that it is not enough to provide information on vaccines to encourage their uptake. The WHO Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Behavioural Insights and Sciences for Health has published a report outlining the factors that drive people’s behaviour when it comes to vaccines: an enabling environment, social influences, and motivation.

This report recommends addressing those drivers to encourage communities to accept and take up vaccination.

First, we must make it easy, quick and affordable to get vaccinated, especially for the large proportion of people who are not deliberately avoiding vaccination. What might seem to be reluctance, resistance or even opposition, might actually be a response to the burdens or inconvenience of getting vaccinated. Immunization rollout plans need to consider factors such as the convenience of location and time, associated costs, and the quality of the experience of being vaccinated.

Second, we need to harness social influences, including from trusted community figures. By making vaccine uptake “visible” to others, through clinics in prominent public places or by enabling ways for people to signal that they have received the vaccine – on social media, in news media or in person – we can contribute to making the social norm more salient.

Third, we need to increase individual motivation through open and transparent dialogue and communication about the uncertainty and risks, but also the safety and benefits of vaccination. Some may be hesitant toward vaccination due to beliefs that they have a low risk of infection, others may have concerns about the safety of vaccines, while others may be hesitant because of religious values or lack of trust in the health system.

Last modified: December 15, 2020

Language: English