World Economic Forum proposes psychological plan to overcome ‘vaxine hesitancy’
By Michael Haynes
July 1, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – “Overcoming COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, procrastination, and rejection” is “the greatest marketing communication challenge of our lifetime,” declared an article on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) website recently.
The piece was authored by three professionals in marketing: Rohit Deshpandé, the Sebastian S. Kresge Professor of Marketing at Harvard’s Business School; Ofer Mintz from Sydney’s University of Technology; and Imram Currim, Professor of Marketing at the Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine.
The group had conducted research into how to combat what they described as a “demand problem” for COVID injections, with supply outweighing demand. This led them to suggest “creating and implementing such solutions to inform, persuade, and convince customer segments to act, and we believe this kind of approach could also boost COVID-19 vaccine communication efforts.”
The scholars want to use psychology to promote vaccines, noting how customers make decisions in a process of thinking, feeling, and taking action. The entire process is replicated when an individual has to decide to get a COVID-19 injection, declared the authors.
While emphasis has been on promoting the third part of this process — the “doing” or actual vaccination event itself — the group lamented the fact that much work was still needed in order to actually convince those described as “the vaccine procrastinator, hesitant, and rejector populations.”
In order to convince this sector of the population, “we need to focus on the ‘think’ and ‘feel’ stages of decision making,” declared the marketing experts.
As such, Deshpandé, Mintz, and Currim have drawn up three recommendations “to eradicate vaccine hesitancy.”
Knowledge and misinformation
The three authors called for a campaign against vaccine “misinformation,” explaining how to address how people think about the vaccine. Noting that many who were hesitant about the injection believed it was “rushed, with underreported side-effects,” the group suggested a policy of directly confronting such people.
“This can be addressed by local leaders proactively reaching out and educating sceptics via media such as phone calls, direct mail, television, billboard, and digital channels.”
This alone was not deemed sufficient, however: “More assertive approaches” were called for in the battle against so-called “vaccine misinformation, in particular on social media.” In order to effect this, “training and funding” should be provided to help medical professionals or non-profit groups.
The war of feelings
Those who opposed the injection have strong feelings against it, stated the three authors, and as such “using information sources trusted by these people could improve their feelings about the vaccine.”
In this context, the WEF listed “medical providers, political and faith-based leaders,” but also highlighted the importance of “communities.”
The three authors suggested a form of emotional fear-mongering to be used against “vaccine sceptics.” “Another way to improve vaccine sceptics’ feelings is to play into a fear of missing out (FOMO), both socially and economically,” wrote the group.
Unceasing promotion of the vaccine
The final step relates to the practical availability of the vaccine, as the authors presented a range of suggestions to it to the population.
“Incentives can work,” they wrote. Business and states could launch a vaccine incentive scheme by “providing paid time-off, free products and lottery giveaways.”