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Surfacing norms to increase vaccine acceptance

Moehring, Alex and Collis, Avinash and Garimella, Kiran and Rahimian, M Amin and Aral, Sinan and Eckles, Dean Surfacing norms to increase vaccine acceptance.

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<p>Despite the availability of multiple safe vaccines, vaccine hesitancy may present a challenge to successful control of the COVID-19 pandemic. As with many human behaviors, people’s vaccine acceptance may be affected by their beliefs about whether others will accept a vaccine (i.e., descriptive norms). However, information about these descriptive norms may have different effects depending on people’s baseline beliefs and the relative importance of conformity, social learning, and free-riding. Here, using a large, pre-registered, randomized experiment (N=437,236) embedded in an international survey, we show that accurate information about descriptive norms can substantially increase intentions to accept a vaccine for COVID-19. These positive effects (e.g., reducing by 5.3% the fraction of people who are “unsure” or more negative about accepting a vaccine) are largely consistent across the 23 included countries, but are concentrated among people who were otherwise uncertain about accepting a vaccine. Providing this normative information in vaccine communications partially corrects individuals’ apparent underestimation of how many other people will accept a vaccine. These results suggest that public health communications should present information about the widespread and growing intentions to accept COVID-19 vaccines.</p>


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Item Type: Article
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Moehring, Alex
Collis, Avinash
Garimella, Kiran
Rahimian, M AminRAHIMIAN@pitt.eduRAHIMIAN0000-0001-9384-1041
Aral, Sinan
Eckles, Dean
Publisher: Center for Open Science
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.31234/
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Industrial Engineering
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2021 21:37
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2021 15:13


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