For herd immunity to be achieved, we need at least 70 percent of a population to be inoculated. And that is possible now with our supply of COVID vaccines. However, while we have what we need to finally stop this pandemic, we can’t. The problem has shifted. Now our concern is how to get as many people to have their two doses of COVID vaccine. And that is a difficult task given how many are hesitant to trust these vaccines.
One reason for people’s skepticism is the misguided belief that COVID vaccines have been rushed and are therefore unsafe to use. Of course, that is far from the truth. If the production of these vaccines was hastened, it was only because the stakeholders involved in the process have agreed to cut bureaucratic red tape for everyone’s benefit. And it’s in our best interest to champion the use of these vaccines in any way we can.
Appeal to emotion
It will be difficult to appeal to a fervent anti-vaxxer’s intellect. And that’s not because they are not capable of understanding facts. It’s just that they have been fed with so much anti-vaccine propaganda that it will take longer and more effort to rewire their thought process. The same goes for casual vaccine skeptics who have seen news reports about vaccine-related deaths. This is where appeal to emotion comes in.
If you cannot approach a topic intellectually, approach it emotionally. Tell someone who does not want to get vaccinated that they are putting the lives of their loved ones in danger. Tell them that they have the power to offer a solution to a problem that has plagued us for far too long.
We need to exhaust all means in our arsenal, including vaccination marketing. We market products. When we succeed, we get people to buy. The same approach can be used for ideas, such as vaccination. Have billboards, TV ads, and viral social media posts champion the importance of vaccination. Explain why getting one’s double dose is a heroic deed.
Enlist the help of a PR agency to come up with a foolproof marketing plan that taps the best channels for this messaging. It’s high time we become aggressive in our effort for herd immunity.
Perks and rewards
Many states have already incentivized vaccination. For example, West Virginia has offered inoculated 16 to 35 years old savings bonds worth $100. Maryland has agreed to pay the same amount to government employees who get vaccinated. New Jersey has provided free beers. While this approach might sound a bit juvenile, we cannot deny the fact that it’s effective. After all, people appreciate free stuff, and they’ll line up for any reward they can get.
Get celebrities involved
Gone are the days when celebrities have to stay mum to maintain clout over their fan base. These days they need to voice their stance on pressing political issues if they want to be taken seriously by the public. One pressing issue we have right now is convincing people to get vaccinated.
We need to get Katy Perry involved. Or Lady Gaga. Or Taylor Swift. One tweet from these celebrities can be enough to change the mind of thousands. Even millions. And if these celebrities are worth their salt, they won’t think twice about using their platform for this cause.
Balanced reporting on anti-vaccine news
We cannot advocate for the censorship of news that zero in on vaccine side effects, especially those involving deaths. However, we need to expect our media outlets to be more careful when delivering these reports. The most that they could do is aim for balanced reporting. By balanced, we mean offering counter takes, explanations why these side effects happen. They cannot let the audience draw their own conclusions without the necessary information. If you see unbalanced and potentially dangerous reporting, call it out. Don’t let media outlets get away with it.
While you cannot blame people who are vaccine skeptics, since it’s safe to safe that they too are victims of fake news and anti-vaccine propaganda, you also cannot allow them to hold onto their beliefs without exerting effort on your end. You have the power to convince these people to change their stance, at least for the benefit of the collective.
We can stop this pandemic now. But we cannot do that without everyone on board. Let people understand that that’s where we are at. And we cannot move forward unless they decide to take one, or two for that matter, for the team.