Where do antivaxxers get their facts from

What helps against skepticism before the corona vaccination?

Another effective tactic is to just penetrate and send memories over and over again. Milkman himself tested this in a study carried out in 2019: The aim was to get more people to go through a drug treatment that had already started. Milkman's team had divided 1,104 tuberculosis patients in Kenya into two test groups: around half of them were in a control group, while everyone else received daily text messages reminding them to take their medication. If they didn't respond, they received two more SMS reminders on the same day and, if that didn't help, phone calls. So basically, says Milkman, the strategy was "to annoy them all the time." From the group of annoyed patients, 96 percent of the patients were successfully treated to the end, compared with about 87 percent in the control group.

But which form of memory works best? Milkman and her colleagues Angela Duckworth and Mitesh Patel have carried out studies with Walmart pharmacies and the supply systems in two regions of the United States. They tested various SMS messages that were intended to encourage test subjects to vaccinate against the flu. The team is still analyzing the data, but the first look at the vaccination data from the health facilities suggests that the simple flu shot reminder sent days or hours before the appointment is “actually useful,” says Milkman tried to be interactive and funny, and I'm not sure if any of it was necessary. ”The study, slated for publication in early 2021, had already been designed to incorporate the coronavirus vaccine efforts.

Reluctance to vaccinate in the midst of society

Meanwhile, the US Department of Health and Human Services is working on a communication strategy for the vaccination campaigns - with prominent participation from Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the operational head of the US health system, Jerome Adams. The New York Times reported from a draft that the campaign would target the "moving center" - people who hesitate to get vaccinated, but who are not strictly against it.

The anti-vaccination movement has made headlines a few times in the past few years - social scientists researching vaccination refusal see hardcore anti-Vaxxers as a very small group that are probably not worth worrying about. For example, according to CDC data from 2019, only 2.5 percent of U.S. kindergarten children were completely unvaccinated. In Germany, according to a study by scientists from the “Care Atlas” from 2017, children in a few regionally limited areas were not vaccinated at a below average rate.

"We're more interested in reaching out to people who are ambivalent to nudge them in the right direction," says Rupali Limaye, who conducts health communication research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The work of Limaye and others illustrates some dos and don'ts that are important when addressing hesitant people. “We learned one thing in awe: We shouldn't correct wrong ideas. Because then people have the feeling that we are condescending, «she says. This can be concluded, for example, from a large study conducted in 2014 by Nyhan, in which information campaigns for vaccine-skeptical parents were investigated. There is no credible evidence that vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella is linked to autism, while measles, mumps, and rubella pose very real health threats. Passing this on as information did not affect the parents' intention to have a child vaccinated. On the contrary: this strategy even hardened negative-skeptical attitudes of anti-vaccination campaigners.

Instead of contradicting it, it is better to "approach the matter with empathy," says Limaye. In response to misinformation, you could say something like, “There's a lot of information out there and some of it is true and some of it is not. Let me tell you what I know. ”Answering this way helps the other person“ to have the feeling that they are being listened to. ”