About this Research Topic
As hopes for the end of a COVID-19 pandemic seem dependent on development and distribution of a vaccine, equally important will be ensuring the acceptance of the vaccine. Recent research suggests large numbers of people may be unwilling to obtain the vaccine when it becomes available. Given this, health officials worldwide will need to consider health promotion efforts that can help to improve acceptance and uptake. Strategies for vaccine promotion have implications beyond the COVID context, as new pathogens are likely to continue to emerge in coming years and efforts to improve acceptance for routine immunizations are ongoing.
Most framing literature to date has been specific to the value of framing behaviors in terms of their gains and losses. But other types of frames can be relevant. Some research has suggested vaccine messaging focused on the benefits of the vaccine to others (as opposed to self) can be more effective in producing positive intentions to vaccinate. Appeals to altruism have been used to motivate organ donation. The idea of helping or protecting others has also emerged in messages about social distancing and mask wearing during the current pandemic, though those tactics remain largely untested. It will be important to build the evidence base for this type of message and any others that show promise in increasing vaccination intentions. Some other strategies include guilt appeals; emotional appeals or use of narrative. The source delivering the message is also a crucial factor in acceptance. If the message receiver does not trust the source, the message is unlikely to be effective. Much vaccine research has shown that lack of trust in government and/or health officials is a common barrier to vaccination. Furthermore, new messengers and message channels – such as friends and family on social media – are becoming increasingly influential in decision making. Thus, research that can help to elucidate ways to increase trust will be crucial.
The aim of the current Research Topic is to highlight research on the identification of promising strategies in vaccine promotion messaging with reference to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
- Altruism or use of “protection of others” as motivator for vaccine messaging
- Testing or evaluating message framing in the context of vaccine uptake
- Studies focused on building or evaluating trust in the messenger for vaccine promotion
- Understanding the role of the messenger on vaccine acceptance and uptake
- Discerning the impact of the channel for disseminating messages about vaccines
Keywords: Vaccine messaging, Health communication, Trust in source, Message framing, Vaccine promotion
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.