According to new research by the University of Cologne, social pressure has very little effect on people getting vaccinated.
They found that the intention to get vaccinated depends mostly on the personal beliefs that vaccination has positive outcomes rather than on social pressure exerted by spouses, partners, families, friends or colleagues. However, the expectations of others were correlated with personal attitudes towards vaccination.
In addition, background factors such as the degree of trust in political or scientific institutions, health status, religiosity or political orientation indirectly affected people’s vaccination’ intentions.
‘Trust in science and fear of Covid-19 supported positive attitudes towards vaccination, while negative attitudes were associated with beliefs in conspiracy theories and scepticism towards vaccines in general,’ says Dr Daniel Seddig.
For this reason, to counteract vaccine hesitancy in the future, the researchers advise policymakers, physicians, and health care providers to emphasise the positive impacts of vaccination against Covid-19, such as protection from serious illness, death, and long-term health detriments.
‘This explanatory approach could prove considerably more effective, maybe even for the most sceptical, than merely exerting social pressure or pointing out the easy access to the vaccines,’ says Dr Seddig.
The study analysed over 5,000 people aged 18–74 between April and August 2021 and January 2022.
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