BYU Researchers: Messaging Surrounding COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Vital’

Oct 13, 2020, 8:32 PM
(KSL TV)...

PROVO, Utah – A COVID-19 vaccine is largely viewed as America’s best opportunity to return to life as normal, but with a high percentage of Americans resistant to vaccines, researchers at Brigham Young University believe the messaging will be critical when a safe COVID-19 vaccine is available.

“I think it’s really important as we roll this vaccine out that we know specifically what factors should be targeted,” said Jamie Jensen, Ph.D.,m a professor of biology with BYU, and co-author of the study.

The widespread acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine will be vital to our country’s recovery from a public health standpoint and an economic standpoint. The study, published in the journal Vaccines, shows that educational messaging will matter when a vaccine campaign begins.

“Vaccines work the best when lots of people take them. The more people who take the vaccine, the better it works,” said Brian Poole, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and molecular biology at BYU, and senior author of the study.

The biology and molecular biology researchers from BYU decided to find out what factors either motivate or detract people from taking a COVID-19 vaccine.

They made two main discoveries: one of them expected, the other a surprise.

“People who were previously kind of anti-vaccine continue to be anti-COVID vaccine,” said Poole. “People who were previously pro-vaccine continue to be to be more pro-vaccine.”

They expected that.

The report showed that only 68 percent of respondents are ready for a COVID-19 vaccine. Concerns remained about side effects, sufficient vaccine testing, and effectiveness.

Unexpectedly, one of the major predictors of whether you are willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine is how you feel the virus is affecting our country.

”People are patriotic. People care about other people. They care about the country. They want the country to get back to normal,” said Poole.

Respondents who said the pandemic was a severe problem for America were much more likely to choose to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Surprisingly, in today’s political climate, the researchers found no causal relationship between political ideology and attitudes toward a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think it’s unexpected because it seems like lately everything is political, and there’s been a lot of politicization of this vaccine in particular,” said Poole. “When we did our survey, politics didn’t really matter.”

“That was shocking,” Jensen agreed.

While the virus itself, and masks have been politicized, that does not seem to affect attitudes towards a vaccine.

“We had a question on there that asked their political affiliation from extremely conservative to extremely liberal, and it’s just not a factor,” said Jensen. “There was no relationship between that and their uptake of the vaccine.”

Understanding why people are hesitant about vaccines can help an education campaign when a vaccine is available. If resistance to a COVID-19 vaccine is based more on its effectiveness and safety than politics, that’s where a rollout campaign could focus the message.

“If they’re worried about the health of America in general, we need to emphasize that vaccines aren’t just for you and your own health, but they protect all of the citizens around you,” said Jensen.

According to their research, the most important message to ease the public’s hesitancy towards vaccines is to focus on how vaccines work and how safe they are.

“There are so many things we can try to educate the public about. It turns out, it’s just vaccines in general: how they work and getting people over that hesitancy that seems to be the most predictive factor on getting people to take the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Jensen.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
4 days ago
FILE: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (left) and Moderna COVID-19 (right) vaccines are seen at a vaccinati...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

COVID-19 cases on the rise in Utah, State Department of Health says

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services are seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases across the state as well as an increase in hospitalizations.
5 days ago
CDC Covid Community Map Levels as of May 18th, 2022. (Credit: CDC)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Summit County is considered ‘medium risk’ for COVID-19 by the CDC

The CDC list Summit County as the only "yellow" risk county in Utah for COVID-19, breaking Utah's all green risk status. 
6 days ago
The lawn of Timpanogos Regional Hospital was adorned with flags to honor the lives lost to COVID-19...
Ashley Moser, KSL TV

Hospital ceremony honors survivors, healthcare heroes as U.S. hits one million COVID-19 deaths

The lawn of Timpanogos Regional Hospital was adorned with flags to honor the lives lost to COVID-19, those who survived it, and the caregivers and healthcare workers who cared for the sick.
7 days ago
Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Mixed results for food drive while demand for assistance stays high

After a two-year break because of the pandemic, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive returned on Saturday with mixed results.
8 days ago
The Conference Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City for a yo...
Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Young adults pack Conference Center, overflow seating with largest crowds since pandemic

Thousands gathered at the Conference Center and overflow seating in Temple Square for a big event that hasn’t taken place with this many people in-person, since before the start of the pandemic.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
BYU Researchers: Messaging Surrounding COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Vital’