The massive global survey spawned two papers — one recently published in Nature Human Behavior and another in Nature Communications—showing people greatly underestimate vaccine uptake — both worldwide and in their own communities. “Our study shows that accurate information about what most other people are doing can substantially increase intentions to accept a COVID-19 vaccine,” says Avinash Collis, co-author and assistant professor of information, risk, and operations management at The University of Texas McCombs School of Business.
- Public health campaigns are more convincing when they focus on the percentage of people receiving vaccinations, as opposed to the dangers of refusing vaccination.
- People all over the world severely underestimate vaccine uptake in their communities, in part because of wide coverage of vaccine hesitancy.
- “But once they know that the majority has already received or are going to get the vaccine, they feel safer to get the vaccine,” says Collis.
- The survey also found local health workers are the most trusted source of COVID-19 information, but in most countries, they don’t serve as public information sources. Politicians do — and they are the least trusted.
- Facebook provided the survey sample and ads, yielding a record-setting 2 million responses in 67 countries.
- The survey is a joint effort of The University of Texas at Austin, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, the World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins University and Meta.
- Other academics are now using this data in their own vaccination research — including studies on vaccination campaigns and political trust in Latin America, understanding drivers of vaccine hesitancy in South Asia, and promoting hand-washing in sub-Saharan Africa. To date, more than 40 peer reviewed papers have been published by other research teams using this data.
Read the McCombs Big Ideas story.