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What Will Boost the Vaccination Rate?

How to convince people to get the COVID-19 shot.

The vaccination rate for Americans has drastically slowed as those who wanted the shot in the first place and struggled to get one early, when they first became available, are all vaccinated.

Now it is a game of ones and twos, trying to get people to line up (actually, there aren’t any lines) and protect themselves from hospitalization or death. Seems like it should be an easy sell — but it is not!

I recently saw this New York Times article, “Free Doughnuts Aren’t Going to Boost Vaccination Rates.” If it were me, that might just work since I do like donuts, but not Krispy Kream ones. I have my standards, you know!

Then just yesterday I listened to this Hidden Brain podcast, “You, But Better.” The topic is all about motivating ourselves to “do the right thing.” For myself, it would be fewer donuts, which I call “Fat Pills.”

However, embedded in the podcast was a segment about how researchers early in the pandemic looked to find out what messages might work better at getting people to become vaccinated. There were the typical, “Protect yourself and protect others,” or “Save yourself from serious illness,” etc.

The message that they found worked best was “Your vaccine is reserved for you!” That tugged at people, I’m thinking that puts them first and also elevates the care that is being taken for them. Like going into a restaurant where you have a reservation and showing up at the table with a reserved sign on it.

In reality, different messages work differently for different people. How about, “It’s free!”
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.
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