Vaccine Communications Tips
Effective communication is critical in building acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccine, and it’s important to use the right words, the right messengers, and the right methods to reach different audiences. These recommendations are based on the “Language of Vaccine Acceptance” poll, conducted Dec. 21-22, 2020, by Frank Luntz and the de Beaumont Foundation, in partnership with the American Public Health Association, the National Collaborative for Health Equity, and Resolve to Save Lives, an Initiative of Vital Strategies. Download the two-page tip sheet. Learn more at debeaumont.org/covid-vaccine-poll.VaccineToolkit_1pger
- TAILOR YOUR MESSAGE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE. Americans’ perceptions about vaccines and their safety differ by political party, race, age, and geography.
- EXPLAIN THE BENEFITS OF GETTING VACCINATED, NOT JUST THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT DOING IT. Say, “Getting the vaccine will keep you and your family safe,”rather than calling it “the right thing to do.” Focus on the need to return to normal and reopen the economy.
- TALK ABOUT THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE VACCINE. Refer to the scientists, the health and medical experts, and the researchers – not the science, health, and pharmaceutical companies.
- AVOID JUDGMENTAL LANGUAGE WHEN TALKING ABOUT OR TO PEOPLE WHO ARE CONCERNED. Acknowledge their concern or skepticism and offer to answer their questions.
- USE (AND REPEAT) THE WORD “EVERY” TO EXPLAIN THE VACCINE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS. For example: “Every study, every phase, and every trial was reviewed by the FDA and a safety board.”
The Language of COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance
- “Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe.”
- “By getting vaccinated, you can help end the damage to the economy, prevent more illnesses and deaths in America, and eliminate and eradicate COVID-19.”
- “Vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end.”
- “At 95% efficacy, the vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus.”
Development, Safety, Distribution, and Side Effects:
“Imagine the day you can stop wearing a mask, or when you can gather indoors at your favorite restaurant again with friends and family for a celebratory meal. That day is coming … but only if we do what needs to be done today to keep ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country healthy and safe.
“The groundbreaking cooperation between leading medical experts here in America and pharmaceutical companies globally has made a return to normal possible thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. The speed of development was due to the sharing of research on a scale never attempted before – and every study, and every phase of every trial, was carefully reviewed and approved by a safety board and the FDA. The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual oversight and expert approval. Data will continue to be collected two years after each vaccine is first administered to ensure that the long-term effects are safe.
“As we distribute the vaccine, frontline workers and those most at-risk from the virus will get the vaccination first.
“If you’re skeptical or concerned about side effects, we hear you. The likelihood of a severe side effect is less than 0.5%. When mild side effects occur, they are a normal sign your body is building protection to the virus, and most go away in a few days.
“Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe. At 95% efficacy, the vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus. By getting vaccinated, you can end the damage to the economy from continued lockdowns, prevent more illnesses and deaths in America, and eliminate and eradicate COVID-19.”