de Beaumont | COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Language
- Language that Works to Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance
- COVID-19 Changing the Conversation Communications Cheat Sheet (PDF)
The findings of a new national poll, “The Language of Vaccine Acceptance,” reveal the urgent need for political and health leaders to adjust their messaging to improve confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. The poll identifies the language that will be most effective in reaching all Americans, especially those who are currently less likely to take a vaccine, including rural Americans, Republicans age 18-49, Black Americans 18-49, and women 18-49.
The nationwide poll was conducted by the de Beaumont Foundation and pollster Frank Luntz in partnership with the American Public Health Association, the National Collaborative for Health Equity, and Resolve to Save Lives, an Initiative of Vital Strategies.
- Sixty percent of Americans said they were either “absolutely certain” or would “probably” get the vaccine if they could now.
- The groups least likely to say they were “absolutely certain” were Americans in rural/farm communities (26%), Republicans age 18-49 (27%), Black Americans 18-49 (28%), and women 18-49 (29%). This compares with 41% of all respondents who said they were “absolutely certain” they would get the vaccine.
- When asked about the biggest concern about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, one-third of all respondents (33%) said either long-term side effects or short-term side effects. The top three statements about side effects that respondents found most reassuring were “the likelihood of experiencing a severe side effect is less than 0.5%,” mild side effects “are normal signs that their body is building protection,” and “most side effects should go away in a few days.”
- When asked what they want most from a vaccine, respondents said “a return to normal,” followed by “safety” and “immunity.”
- When asked which statement was the most convincing, 62% of respondents chose “getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, the economy, and your country safe and healthy” over “taking the vaccine is the right thing to do for yourself, for your family, your community, the economy, and the country” (38%). This highlights the need to avoid moralizing and lecturing Americans when it comes to the importance of vaccine acceptance.
- Family is by far the most powerful motivator for vaccine acceptance. Significantly more Americans said they’d be most willing to take the vaccine for their family as opposed to “your country,” “the economy,” “your community,” or “your friends.”
- The most convincing reasons to take the vaccine were “at 95 percent efficacy, this vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus” and “vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end,” and “getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, and your country healthy and safe.”