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Fact Boxes that Inform Individual Decisions May Contribute to a More Positive Evaluation of COVID-19 Vaccinations at the Population Level

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Felix G. Rebitscheck, Christin Ellermann, Mirjam A. Jenny, Nico A. Siegel, Christian Spinner, Gert G. Wagner

In: PloS one 17 (2022), 9, e0274186, 19 S.


ObjectiveFor an effective control of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with vaccines, most people in a population need to be vaccinated. It is thus important to know how to inform the public with reference to individual preferences–while also acknowledging the societal preference to encourage vaccinations. According to the health care standard of informed decision-making, a comparison of the benefits and harms of (not) having the vaccination would be required to inform undecided and skeptical people. To test evidence-based fact boxes, an established risk communication format, and to inform their development, we investigated their contribution to knowledge and evaluations of COVID-19 vaccines.MethodsWe conducted four studies (1, 2, and 4 were population-wide surveys with N = 1,942 to N = 6,056): Study 1 assessed the relationship between vaccination knowledge and intentions in Germany over three months. Study 2 assessed respective information gaps and needs of the population in Germany. In parallel, an experiment (Study 3) with a mixed design (presentation formats; pre-post-comparison) assessed the effect of fact boxes on risk perceptions and fear, using a convenience sample (N = 719). Study 4 examined how effective two fact box formats are for informing vaccination intentions, with a mixed experimental design: between-subjects (presentation formats) and within-subjects (pre-post-comparison).ResultsStudy 1 showed that vaccination knowledge and vaccination intentions increased between November 2020 and February 2021. Study 2 revealed objective information requirements and subjective information needs. Study 3 showed that the fact box format is effective in adjusting risk perceptions concerning COVID-19. Based on those results, fact boxes were revised and implemented with the help of a national health authority in Germany. Study 4 showed that simple fact boxes increase vaccination knowledge and positive evaluations in skeptics and undecideds.ConclusionFact boxes can inform COVID-19 vaccination intentions of undecided and skeptical people without threatening societal vaccination goals of the population.

Gert G. Wagner

Senior Research Fellow in der Infrastruktureinrichtung Sozio-oekonomisches Panel

Themen: Gesundheit