Using a Conceptual Framework to Analyse Communicative Interventions that Address Vaccine Hesitancy

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  • Public health organizations are greatly interested in designing effective communication interventions to address vaccine hesitancy (i.e., delay or refusal to vaccinate) because under-immunized populations are more vulnerable to outbreaks of serious contagious diseases, such as measles and, more recently, COVID-19. Therefore, to understand why some such communicative interventions succeed while others fail, this paper examines two exemplary interventions that are manifestly similar yet they produced divergent outcomes. In doing so, this paper explores the interplay of communication theory, framing strategy, and message design model revealed by these two cases. Next, informed by this theoretical discussion, an analytical framework for communicative intervention, which categorizes interventions as using either a promotional approach or a communicative engagement approach, is proposed. This framework is then applied in a two-step process to scholarly discourse about interventions that address vaccine hesitancy. Comparative analysis of the pre-2020 discourse (before COVID-19) and the post 2020 discourse (during the COVID era) reveal a similar pattern which suggests that communicative interventions that display all attributes of the communicative engagement approach—dialogue
    within the narrative paradigm, use of strategic framing, and stakeholder engagement via the central route to processing—are far more likely to be successful than those that display attributes of the promotional approach. Furthermore, these results also suggest that the circumstances
    surrounding the pandemic have not affected these variables. The outcome is a validated theoretical application that sheds light on the essential dynamics of communicative interventions that address vaccine hesitancy.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International