Vaccine hesitancy: How marketing has an impact on one’s desire to get the COVID-19 vaccine

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County health experts are expressing concerns about how many people in the Finger Lakes region have yet to get their COVID-19 vaccine yet. For the last couple weeks, vaccine supply has exceeded demand. 

News 8 is taking a closer look at how marketing of the vaccine can have an impact on whether someone gets the vaccine. 

“Nobody expected a pandemic, so we were completely unprepared when it came to marketing many messages about a pandemic, let alone something as specific as a vaccine,” said Tom Proeitti, Resident Media Scholar at St. John Fisher College. 

“We introduced this thing before we did any marketing, so the vaccines were out here and we really hadn’t done any marketing on how am I going to get this message to you that you should be taking this, because the immediate impact of this was, ‘let’s get this out there as quickly as possible, let’s get as many people vaccinated.’” 

There is a lot of misinformation about the vaccine on social media, which makes vaccine hesitancies rise. Not to mention, people are easily able to share any information they want online. 

“If I am a sceptic about this, I go on twitter and have 9,000 followers, and my 9,000 followers see that I might not think this is a good idea, or it’s dangerous, or it’s dumb, or I’ll wait for heard immunity, all those things create a level of hesitancy that is just astonishing,” Proeitti said. 

Proeitti said vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, it just has a greater impact in 2021. 

“This has gone on with the polio vaccine, it just didn’t have the same kind of impact because it wasn’t possible for me, with a twitter account in 1955, to start saying you should not take this because it’s going to do some damage or it’s not going to do any good,” he said. 

Proeitti did say a bigger emphasis on marketing the vaccine would help. The more you hear positive messages about the vaccine, the more you’re likely to trust it. 

“In advertising there’s this thing called the ‘3 hit theory,’ if you don’t hit me with a clear message three times over and over again in a relatively short period of time, so what I need to do is not only have to be convinced, but I need to recall. I need to recall what is the message, how important is the message, and what is going to get me to move to that last step, which is action,” Proeitti said. 

If you are someone who wants to get vaccinated, as of Thursday you no longer need an appointment to get a vaccine at Monroe County-run vaccination sites. Walk-ins are now accepted.

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