20 April 2021
Focusing on vaccine hesitancy could mean we are missing an opportunity to maximise uptake by better understanding people’s capability, opportunity and motivation to get the Covid-19 vaccination, say psychologists.
After reviewing the factors that can influence people’s responses to messages about vaccination uptake, the BPS' Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce has identified six key principles to optimise public health efforts to reach all communities and promote vaccination equity across the whole population.
Dr Tracy Epton, lead author of the guidance, said:
“If we view the vaccination programme through a behavioural science lens we know that people’s capability to enact the behaviour, the opportunities to actually enable the behaviour, and the motivation to perform the behaviour all play a role in people’s likelihood to get the vaccination.
“As we look to continue the momentum of the vaccination roll-out, it is so important that public health messaging is personally relevant, clear, factual, and delivered in a medium, or from an individual that communities trust. We need to involve members of different groups to find out their particular needs and what can support them to take up the vaccination as different groups will have different levels of knowledge and understanding, different beliefs, different barriers to access and different needs for evidence of effectiveness.”
Professor Angel Chater, chair of the BPS’ Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce, added:
“Expertise of those on the taskforce can help to offer a unique insight into what needs to be considered to optimise vaccination uptake and ensure vaccination equity amongst different populations.
“It is not good enough to say that people are ‘vaccine hesitant’ when often messages are not tailored and personalised, and/or environments are not accessible or enabling. This new guidance sets out clearly how public health efforts can be optimised by considering people’s capability, opportunity and motivation to encourage and enable as many people as possible to get their vaccination, so that we can all look forward to taking the next steps out of this pandemic.”