Why COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy should fall as more people get the jab

Did you book your NHS COVID-19 vaccination on the phone? If you did, the first thing you heard was this automated message: “Thank you for your call. We are pleased so many people have responded to their invitations to get a COVID vaccination.”

Perhaps you’ve seen an NHS advertisement on Instagram or Twitter. If so, chances are you saw the following invitation: “Join the millions already vaccinated.”

How do these statements make you feel? My guess is that, somewhere in the bundle of emotions, are the following thoughts: you’re about to do what many others have already done. You’re going to be part of something big. And you’re feeling more confident about taking this step, because you’ve got some proof that others have done what you’re about to do. It all just feels, well, normal.

If many feel this way, then this is a sign that taking a COVID-19 vaccine has become an accepted and expected behaviour: what’s known as a social norm. Reaching this point could be hugely beneficial as the UK’s rollout continues. If getting vaccinated becomes a social norm, it could help convince those who are hesitant to change their position.


For the full article by Professor Andrew Chadwick, visit the Conversation.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 21/103

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