Emphasizing Health Benefits May Increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

Public information campaigns may potentially boost rates of vaccination.

A recent study conducted by investigators from the University of Wyoming has found that messages which put an emphasis on the personal health benefits of COVID-19 vaccination provides the best opportunity for increasing inoculation levels across the United States.

Results from the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Research preceding the COVID-19 pandemic offer mixed results about the effectiveness of information on vaccinations in general, but recent studies suggest that public health messaging may increase COVID-19 vaccinations,” the authors wrote. “Messages about vaccine safety, benefits to self and others, as well as vaccines allowing life to return to normal have been found to increase intended or actual vaccinations for the studied population as a whole or for subgroups.”

For the study, the team of investigators conducted a survey of 3,048 adults in the US, which compared 3messages that described the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The survey also examined the impact of combining the messages.

The 3 messages were: benefits to personal health; benefits to the health of family, friends and community members; and benefits to local and national economies.

Findings from the study demonstrated that the messages about private health increased intended vaccinations by 16%, significantly more than the other messages.

The investigators also discovered that the source of the information mattered. For example, messages coming from a trusted family physician had more of an effect than messages coming from a private citizen or elected official.

“The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines is a tremendous scientific response to the current global pandemic. However, vaccines per se do not save lives and restart economies. Their success depends on the number of people getting vaccinated,” the authors wrote. “Based on a nationally quota representative sample of 3,048 adults in the United States, our findings suggest that several forms of public messages can increase vaccine intentions, but messaging that emphasizes personal health benefits had the largest impact.”