Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Among Vaccine Hesitant Parents Using Psychological Inoculation

Nathaniel Evans has been awarded OIBR seed funding ($5020) through the Grantsmanship Development Program (GDP) for his proposed project titled, “Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Among Vaccine Hesitant Parents Using Psychological Inoculation.”

Abract: The objective of the proposed research is to augment vaccine acceptance and coverage by developing and testing intervention strategies that inoculate vaccine hesitant parents against COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Psychological inoculation (McGuire and Papageorgis, 1961) is analogous to biomedical inoculation, wherein individuals exposed to misinformation weakened by logical fallacies develop “cognitive antibodies” so that they are equipped to defend against future misinformation (van der Linden et al. 2021). Traditional debunking or “supportive” messaging techniques show limited effectiveness in health contexts because they require individuals to develop their own counterarguments against information, whereas psychological inoculation provides individuals with heuristic counterarguments used to fight questionable or potentially deceptive (mis)information (Maertens et al. 2020). Emerging research using inoculation interventions suggest promise for eliciting resistance to anti-vaccine conspiracy theories (Jolley and Douglas 2017) and offers protection to those already exposed to misinformation (Cook et al., 2017; van der Linden et al., 2017). Psychological inoculation transcends the limited effectiveness of existing debunking messaging techniques in a variety of health contexts. Inoculation interventions have untaped potential for changing undesirable vaccine-related attitudes and behaviors and offer protection from future vaccine misinformation. Overall, we believe the successful development and implementation of inoculation interventions is paramount in providing vaccine hesitant individuals the defenses needed to fight current and unforeseen COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and will ultimately increase coverage rates.

Inadequate and incomplete: Chinese newspapers’ coverage of the first licensed human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in China

Abstract: Glaxo Smith Kline’s Cervarix was the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine licensed for use in China in July 2016 and officially launched there on July 31, 2017. Since news media content can influence people’s vaccine-related knowledge, understanding, and intentions, a content analysis was used to examine the information conveyed to the public about the HPV vaccine by Chinese newspapers before the 2017 immunization recommendation for women 25 years old and younger. A total of 253 articles published from 2000 to 2016 met the inclusion criteria and were coded. The results showed that HPV and the HPV vaccine received very little newspaper coverage in China both before and after vaccine licensure. Most of the coverage, including after licensure, came from China Party press newspapers, with the stories predominantly using thematic rather than episodic framing. Thematic framing was also prevalent in City press newspapers. Application of the Health Belief Model to the content analysis revealed benefits, self-efficacy, and cues to action were found in most news stories. Overall, given the relative lack of Chinese newspaper coverage, public health officials and health care providers in China should assume most people, including those for whom HPV vaccination is recommended, have little or no knowledge about HPV, HPV vaccine, and the reasons for the vaccination recommendation. If news media are to be a source of HPV information for the Chinese public, significant efforts will be needed to increase attention.