The media contributes to vaccine hesitancy: experts
Media reporting on COVID vaccines should be careful to contextualise the benefits alongside the risks, say experts.
Vaccine hesitancy has been a notable hurdle in Australia’s troubled vaccine rollout and the media has played a role in fuelling fears, say experts.
Two Griffith University academics – Heather Green, a senior lecturer at the School of Applied Psychology, and Joan Carlini, a lecturer from the Department of Marketing – say reporting on vaccine hesitancy must be handled carefully.
“In a global study, three of 13 national and state-level immunisation managers interviewed said negative information conveyed in the mass media contributed to vaccine hesitancy in their countries.
“On the flip side, media reports about influenza and vaccination can also increase vaccination uptake,” they wrote in the online magazine, The Conversation.
A Griffith University survey conducted in the middle of 2020 found that 68 per cent of people would take a COVID-19 vaccine if one was available.
“Any reporting on Australians’ inclination to vaccinate should reinforce what is in fact the social norm – the intention of the majority to receive a COVID vaccine,” the academics say.