According to Global Advisor, 73% of people would get a Covid-19 vaccine if it became available now, down from 77% in August. This may not seem like a lot, but when vaccine-induced herd immunity relies on a huge section of society being vaccinated, it’s cause for concern. Another cause for concern is just how low the numbers are for countries like France, the US, and Spain.
The type of vaccine that’s been touted as a savior brings another problem. It’s an mRNA vaccine, a “whole new type of vaccine.” Although more people will have general knowledge of vaccines than herd immunity, the topics have very similar problems when it comes to the exploitation of knowledge gaps. With few influential experts and a lack of readily available research, people without the relevant knowledge are able to get a huge amount of attention.
Uncertainty around quickly-produced vaccinations gives disinformation extra bait. You can appreciate the logic of being wary of a brand new treatment. People will want to see the research, wishing to be put at ease that it’s safe. This is a healthy response. But those looking into their legitimate concerns risk being dragged into outright conspiracy when the facts are buried or unavailable.
If we couple this with the prevalence of vaccine conspiracies and skepticism, we can see the difficulty some governments may have in convincing their citizens to take a new vaccine.
We can see this happening in real-time. Some have been linking the new vaccine to Thalidomide, a medication given to pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 60s that caused thousands of birth defects. Search interest in it jumped, particularly in Europe where the product was sold, shortly after the news there was a Covid-19 vaccine that worked.
There are big and ever-moving hurdles governments and pharmaceutical companies have to overcome when it comes to communicating effectively, keeping ahead of disinformation, and reassuring the public.
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Brandwatch React Team