You Can Convince People To Vaccinate–But Not (Just) By Dispelling Myths

You Can Convince People To Vaccinate–But Not (Just) By Dispelling Myths

There’s more than one reason to skip vaccinations, and not all of them fit into our stereotypes of how anti-vaxxers think. A new analysis identifies four reasons people skip the shots, and how best to convince each to reconsider.

Photo by Anne-Lise Heinrichs.

If a person doesn’t believe that vaccines work or are safe, there’s not much you can do to convince them besides dispelling the myths they’re working from — which doesn’t always work. Fortunately, that’s just one of the “four C’s” the researchers identified (this one is lack of Confidence in the vaccines.)

More likely you’ll run into people who are Complacent: they aren’t opposed to shots, but they just don’t really care. You can remind them why vaccinations are important: think of the parents and grandparents who will gladly get a flu or DTPa shot when a new baby arrives in the family. Policy makers can help by making vaccinations normal, expected, and easy.

Other people are Calculating: they weigh risks and benefits, which is a great approach to any kind of health care, but this is a problem if their calculations include myths spread by anti-vaxxers. Correcting some of their information can help shift the balance.

Lastly, some people are most affected by Convenience: these include folks who have trouble affording shots or finding time or a place to get them. As a friend, you could help someone in this category making logistics easier (by offering a ride or babysitting, for example), or by reminding them that most routine vaccines for kids and adults are free.

Using Behavioural Insights to Increase Vaccination Policy Effectiveness [Policy Insights from the Behavioural and Brain Sciences via Infection Control Today]


  • See, the most important C you forgot is Conspiracy.

    There’s nothing you can do to fix this lot: evidence, facts, proof, these are all planted by the groups trying to control us. And let’s face it, most of the anti-vaxers are conspiracists…

    • I was going to say Chickenwire enclosure. The rest of us are trying to have a society over here and you’ve seen enough border security shows to know how quarantine works and the reasons for it.

  • You honestly cant dispel it, if their mental state wont allow them to accept a different opinion beyond the one they fervently believe is the truth.

    The poor social skills, the abrupt talking mannerism, come across as honest, unwavering opinion, a knowledge that seems encyclopedic but also narrow in scope to only the points they are interest in, a level of anxiety and fear of medical professionals… yeah, the one thing they are protesting against the rise of autism rates, and they are the prime example of someone who is most likely undiagnosed with said condition. (and probably genetic)

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