Several consumers are cautious about a COVID-19 vaccine ─Study

*Clearer information needs to be conveyed to ease fears and some of the public’s concerns, say experts

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Following the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic and its attendant disruptive impacts on individuals, businesses, organisations and governments, health experts have continued to conduct trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.

A fresh study conducted by researchers from the Brigham Young University is gauging consumers’ readiness to take one of these treatments.

ConsumerConnect gathered though the majority of consumers are supportive of a vaccine, the study findings suggested that experts need to be more vocal about the specifics to ease some of the public’s concerns.

Brian Poole, one of the researchers, said: “Messages promoting the COVID-19 vaccine need to alleviate the concerns of those who are already vaccine-hesitant.

“Vaccine hesitancy is growing and the World Health Organisation has already deemed it one of the top threats to global health.”

On how consumers feel hesitant about a vaccine, the researchers surveyed 316 people and asked them to report on several measures that gauged their attitudes on vaccines more generally and within the scope of the pandemic.

Their work revealed that nearly 70 percent of the survey respondents were in favour of a COVID-19 vaccine, though many expressed concerns about general vaccine-related fears, including potential side effects and overall effectiveness.

These results were consistent with the participants’ beliefs about vaccines more generally, as those who were pro-vaccine were more likely to be in favour of a Coronavirus vaccine, researchers stated.

According to experts, any hesitancy that participants felt tended to come from ambiguity about the particulars of the vaccine, including the testing process.

Many of the participants said they wouldn’t feel comfortable getting a COVID-19 vaccine until more long-term testing has been completed.

But, in order to help alleviate some of these concerns, the researchers are calling for clearer messaging to consumers about the full spectrum of the vaccine process to attain success.

Poole stated: “Public health messaging regarding COVID-19 vaccination should be less about the individual need for vaccination and more about the country, and how to get it back to where it needs to be.”

As regards the importance of clarity in messaging, the researchers have identified what aspects of a COVID-19 vaccine are troubling to consumers.

They hope that future communications will be better tailored to ease those concerns.

Researcher Jamie Jensen said: “It is critical that we understand the potential barriers to vaccine uptake prior to the release of a COVID vaccine.

“By understanding these barriers, we can design publicity strategies that will speak directly to the potential issues and hopefully get out ahead of any public dissent.

“With a vaccine being the most powerful weapon we have to end this global pandemic, the knowledge from this study is absolutely critical.”

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