How to Overcome COVID Vaccine Fears?…

Research shows that some surprisingly simple interventions can make a difference. The one with the biggest proved impact, Milkman says, is to make the desired action — in this case, vaccination — the default. A 2010 study at Rutgers University showed that informing people that a dose of flu vaccine was waiting for them at a specified time and place (although the appointment could be changed) boosted their vaccination rate by 36 percent, compared with a control group that was e-mailed a Web link to schedule their own appointment. In other words, opt out works better than opt in.

Simple reminders… sent days or hours before a doctor’s appointment, appear to be “really valuable”…

Research by Limaye and others reveals some dos and don’ts about nudging the somewhat wary. “One thing that we’ve learned very clearly is not to correct misperceptions because people feel as though we are being dismissive,” she says. In fact, a large 2014 study led by Nyhan found that informing parents that there were no credible data linking autism with the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella and providing facts about the very real dangers of these diseases had no impact on their intention to vaccinate a child. Instead such a strategy actually hardened negative views among the most vaccine-averse.

Rather than contradicting someone’s views, Limaye says, it is better to “come at this with empathy.” She suggests responding to misinformation “by saying something like, ‘There’s a lot of information out there, and some of it is true, and some of it is not true. Let me tell you what I know.’” That kind of reply, Limaye says, “helps [people] feel that they are being listened to.”

Medical personnel can also build rapport by framing the decision in a personal way: “Let me tell you why I vaccinated my own children.” …more