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Americans’confidenceinthe
COVID-19vaccination
The Language of COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance
• The de Beaumont Foundation and Frank Luntz conducted a poll to
identify effective ways to communicate about the COVID-19 vaccine to all
Americans, including those who are concerned about getting vaccinated.
• Nationwide survey of 1,400 registered voters Dec. 21-22 (+3% margin of
error). This included an oversample of 300 Black Americans and 300
Latinx Americans.
• Representative sample of Americans nationally, including political
affiliation, age, gender, ethnicity, education, and income.
• A focus on the specific words, sentences, phrases, and attributes
Americans need to hear to reduce concerns and increase trust in taking
the COVID-19 vaccine.
VACCINE COMMUNICATIONS POLL
Dr. Frank I. Luntz
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
• In developing and analyzing the survey, the
de Beaumont Foundation partnered with:
o American Public Health Association
o National Collaborative for Health Equity
o Resolve to Save Lives, an Initiative of
Vital Strategies
VACCINE COMMUNICATIONS POLL
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
• Tailor messages for your particular audience, because Americans’ priorities and perceptions regarding the
COVID-19 vaccine differ significantly by political party, race, geography, and age.
• Emphasize the benefits of taking the vaccine, not just the consequences of not taking it. Focus on the fact
that taking the vaccine will keep them and their families safe and healthy, rather than calling it the “right”
thing to do.
• Among the groups least likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine are rural Americans, Republicans age 18-49, Black
Americans 18-49, and women 18-49, and those from low socio-economic environments. The groups that
need the least persuading are opinion influencers, people over age 65, and white Democrats.
• Fear and uncertainty about long-term side effects are primary drivers of hesitancy.
• Avoid judgmental language when talking about people who are concerned about taking the vaccine,
whatever their reasons. Emphasize that it’s understandable that some people are skeptical or concerned
about the vaccine.
KEY FINDINGS AND TIPS
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
• The best way to overcome the political divide on COVID-19 is to link improved health to a faster return to
normal and reopening of the economy. There is a direct link between 1) opposition to behavior that prevents
and treats COVID-19 and 2) rising economic fear, so you need both messages simultaneously.
• Leaders must clearly and succinctly explain vaccine development and distribution, led by America’s leading
medical experts. It is not a given. Emphasize the commitment to accountability, transparency, rigor, and
continuous oversight every step of the way. The best way to respond to critics that we’ve moved too fast is to
talk about the unprecedented global cooperation, under the watchful eye of the FDA.
• Talk about the people, not the organizations, who developed the vaccine – instead of science, health, and
medical companies or their CEOs, refer to the individual scientists, health and medical experts, and
researchers.
KEY FINDINGS AND TIPS
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
WORDS THAT WORK
Imagine the day you can stop wearing a mask … or when you can gather indoors at your favorite restaurant again with
friends and family for a celebratory meal. That day is coming, but only if we do what needs to be done today to keep
ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country healthy and safe.
The groundbreaking cooperation between leading medical experts here in America and pharmaceutical companies
globally has made a return to normal possible thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. The speed of development was due to the
sharing of research on a scale never attempted before – with every study and every phase of every trial carefully reviewed
and approved by a safety board and the FDA. The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual
oversight and expert approval.
As we begin distribution, frontline workers and those most at-risk from the virus will get the vaccination first. If you’re
skeptical or concerned about side effects, we hear you. When side effects do occur, they are a normal sign your body is
building protection to the virus, and most go away in a few days. The likelihood of a severe side effect is less than 0.5%.
Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe. At 95% efficacy, the vaccine is
extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus. By getting vaccinated, you can end the damage to the economy,
prevent more illnesses and deaths, and help eliminate and eradicate COVID-19.
What our leaders need say to build confidence in the vaccine and encourage people to take it:
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
VACCINE WORDS TO USE & LOSE (1)
Words to USE Words to LOSE
America’s leading medical experts America’s leading health experts
Research Discover/create/invent
Medical researchers Drug companies
Damage from lockdowns Inability to travel easily and safely
A transparent, rigorous process The $ spent/the # of trials & people
Safety Security
Pharmaceutical companies Drug companies
Your family Your community
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
VACCINE WORDS TO USE & LOSE (2)
Words to USE Words to LOSE
A return to normal Predictability
The benefits from taking it The consequences from not taking it
Globally Internationally/around the world
Advanced/ground-breaking Historic
Vaccination Injection/inoculation
Taking the vaccine will help keep you
safe
Taking the vaccine is the right thing to
do
America’s leading experts The world’s leading experts
Skeptical/concerned about the vaccine Misled/confused about the vaccine
PERCEPTIONS OF COVID-19 & VACCINES
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
KEY FINDINGS
• The partisan divide on whether to get vaccinated is troubling. Republicans are 20% less likely to get a
vaccine today than Democrats. This reinforces the need to have individualized and personalized
messaging for different populations. Democrats value the level of global cooperation. Republicans trust
American medical experts and the level of rigorous detail and FDA oversight.
• The urgency to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available needs to be emphasized. Only 35% of Americans
say they would get the vaccine right now, while 18% say they will never take it. The only measure of
communication success is the percentage of people who get the vaccine and/or the percentage who say
they will get the vaccine “as soon as it’s available.”
• The two most important attributes of the vaccine are safety and effectiveness. People know it’s
effective, but they are much more skeptical about safety. You don’t need to spend time on
effectiveness; the 95% efficacy rate is your greatest asset in that area.
The partisan divide on getting vaccinated is shocking
If a vaccine against COVID-19 were available to you today, at no cost, how likely would you be to get it?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
60%
23%
17%
Probably
Probably not
Not sure
73%
13%
15%
Probably
Probably not
Not sure
53%
33%
14%
Probably
Probably not
Not sure
The groups MOST likely to get vaccinated
If a vaccine against COVID-19 were available to you today, at no cost, how likely would you be to get it?
(% “absolutely certain” to get a COVID vaccine)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
62%
61%
57%
57%
56%
56%
55%
55%
White Democrats
Opinion Elites
65+
Flu shot this/last year
High socio-economic
Liberals
Know someone who died of COVID
Men 50+
The groups LEAST likely to get vaccinated
If a vaccine against COVID-19 were available to you today, at no cost, how likely would you be to get it?
(% “absolutely certain” to get a COVID vaccine)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
14%
20%
26%
26%
27%
28%
29%
29%
No flu shot this/last year
Little/no serious COVID concerns
Rural/farm community
Low socio-economic
GOP 18-49
Black 18-49
Primary news from the web
Women 18-49
Republicans are significantly less likely to take the
vaccine now…or ever
Right now, what is your plan for taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered to you?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
35% 43% 33% I want to take it immediately
9% 10% 7% I want to wait a few days
11% 14% 7% I want to wait a few weeks
17% 15% 18% I want to wait a few months
6% 5% 6% I want to wait at least a year
5% 5% 4% I want to be one of the last people to take it
18% 9% 25% I am not going to take the vaccine
There’s a little more skepticism about safety than efficacy…
but not much
From what you know right now, how safe do you think the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are? Are they...?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem Swing GOP
56% 67% 53% 51% Safe (NET)
22% 13% 24% 30% Not safe (NET)
Total Dem Swing GOP
58% 70% 53% 53% Effective (NET)
17% 10% 15% 23% Not effective (NET)
From what you know right now, how effective do you think the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are? Are they...?
Among Black Americans, belief in the safety and
effectiveness of the vaccine is lower
From what you know right now, how safe do you think the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are? Are they...?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total White Latino Black
56% 58% 51% 48% Safe (NET)
22% 23% 28% 25% Not safe (NET)
Total White Latino Black
58% 59% 63% 51% Effective (NET)
17% 17% 13% 23% Not effective (NET)
From what you know right now, how effective do you think the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are? Are they...?
The electoral impact of the vaccine is significant…
but for Republicans, it is much less impactful
Would you be... to vote for someone running for office if they themselves received and encouraged other
Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
65%
4%
Dem
More likely
Less likely
53%
5%
Swing
33%
11%
GOP
More likely More likely
Less likely Less likely
VACCINE DEVELOPMENT AND DISTRIBUTION
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
KEY FINDINGS
• Reducing hesitancy begins with the point of delivery. Americans are most comfortable
having the vaccine distributed and administered by THEIR healthcare provider. They are
trusted much more than pharmacies or any government agency.
• To build trust and confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, highlight the
specific facts about vaccine development. In particular, describe the “research” (and that
specific word over others like “study” or “invent”) that led to the vaccine as “rigorous
and transparent, with continual oversight.” The oversight and approval is also essential.
• Thanks to the messaging that’s been coming from Washington, you need to explain how
the vaccine was developed so quickly. Focus on “the unprecedented global cooperation”
among “medical experts” (not “health experts” or “scientists”). The high number of trial
participants is irrelevant to people.
KEY FINDINGS
• The language device of “every” can help you reassure people about the vaccine
development process. “Every study, every phase, and every trial…” underscores that all
of the research was carefully reviewed by the FDA and a safety board. Repetition is
necessary.
• The public accepts the need to make the vaccine available to certain groups first, such as
frontline healthcare workers or those most at-risk of illness. But this goodwill may be
eroded if they perceive that well-connected people (the wealthy for Democrats and
celebrities for Republicans) have jumped the line.
“The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual
oversight from medical experts and final approval by the FDA.”
“Data will continue to be collected two years after the vaccine is
administered to ensure that the long-term effects are safe for people.”
“This vaccine followed the same review process of every other
vaccine.”
Messages to Explain the Review Process
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
What facts about the development and approval of the COVID-19 vaccine would give
you the most trust and confidence to take it?
Americans trust their healthcare provider most
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Whom do you trust and should be MOST responsible for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine? (combined)
50%
39%
38%
23%
22%
19%
9%
Your healthcare provider
Your state public health agency
Federal public health agencies
Your local public health agency
Your local pharmacy
National pharmacies
Your place of work
Focus on the individuals, not the companies
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Regarding the development and approval of the COVID-19 vaccine, which of these factors would give you
the most trust and confidence to take it?
The unprecedented cooperation between
scientists, health and medical experts, and
researchers internationally.
The unprecedented cooperation between
science, health, and medical companies
internationally
29%
71%
Speak to the “research” undertaken in developing the
vaccine. Nothing else is effective.
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Which of the following actions by the science and medical communities gives you the most trust and confidence
in the process that led to a COVID-19 vaccine? (combined)
66%
33%
28%
20%
17%
14%
12%
9%
Research
Study
Investigate
Examine
Innovate
Discover
Create
Invent
Explain the science with language that celebrates the vaccine
realistically. Don’t romanticize it.
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Which description of the science that led to the COVID-19 vaccine would give you the most trust and confidence in the
vaccine? (Combined)
40%
38%
32%
32%
32%
24%
19%
19%
19%
18%
18%
8%
Advanced
Groundbreaking
Cutting-edge
Unprecedented
Innovative
State-of-the-art
Historic
Inventive
Extraordinary
Amazing
Modern
Futuristic
Words That Build Trust and Confidence
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Which description of the science that led to the COVID-19 vaccine would give you the most trust and confidence in the
vaccine? (combined)
Total Latinx Black
40% 26% 31% Advanced
38% 29% 32% Groundbreaking
32% 28% 29% Cutting-edge
32% 39% 31% Unprecedented
32% 35% 38% Innovative
24% 18% 21% State-of-the-art
Total Latinx Black
19% 23% 24% Historic
19% 24% 26% Inventive
19% 18% 20% Extraordinary
18% 18% 12% Amazing
18% 31% 20% Modern
8% 11% 15% Futuristic
VACCINE HESITANCY
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
KEY FINDINGS
• Family health and safety is the most powerful motivator for the vaccine among most
segments of the population. Just as taking measures to stop the spread of COVID is seen as a
personal responsibility, protecting your family is seen as a positive by everyone.
• Promoting the BENEFITS of the vaccine outweigh the CONSEQUENCES of not taking it -- but
you need both. Start with the positive, move to the negative, and then end with the positive.
In the eyes of Americans, the benefit of getting vaccinated that matters most is preventing
more people (i.e., their family) from getting sick or dying. The consequence of not getting it
is the continued damage to the economy. Then end by linking public health with economic
health.
• The “back to normal life” message appeals a lot more to younger Republicans (who are
among the most hesitant to get the vaccine) but fails among Latinx Americans.
KEY FINDINGS
• Fear of side effects are the greatest impediment to reducing vaccine hesitancy. Nothing else
comes close. There needs to be a three-pronged approach to alleviating the concerns and
skepticism stemming from side effects long and short term;
• Emphasize the likelihood of experiencing a severe side effect is less than 0.5%. Here, the
numerical data is needed to reassure people.
• Tell people that a minor reaction is simply a sign that your body is building protection
against the virus.
• Finally, reassure people that most side effects only last a day or two.
Hesitancy is significantly higher among Republicans than
Democrats
From what you currently know, which vaccine would you be MOST willing to take?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
21% 25% 18% Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
20% 22% 17% Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine
7% 7% 6% Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine
5% 6% 5% AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine
25% 28% 25% I would be willing to take any COVID-19 vaccine
22% 12% 29% I would not take a COVID-19 vaccine
The key to reducing hesitancy: Address long-term side effects
Regardless of whether you plan to be vaccinated, what is your biggest hesitancy with taking the
COVID-19 vaccine, if any? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total
45%
I'm worried about the unknown long-term side effects of the vaccine that we won't know for
years
31% I'm worried about the potential short-term side effects from taking the vaccine
25% I'm worried about the unknown length of immunity that the vaccine provides
25% I'm worried about the speed at which the vaccine has been developed
24% I'm worried about the speed at which the vaccine has been approved by public health officials
The less common worries…
Regardless of whether you plan to be vaccinated, what is your biggest hesitancy with taking the
COVID-19 vaccine, if any? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total
16% There is too much conflicting information out there whether to take the vaccine
12% I am worried about getting COVID-19 from taking the vaccine.
11% I'm worried about how much I will have to pay for the vaccine
9% I am scared of shots in general, COVID is just another one
8%
The threat of coronavirus is overblown. The chance of me getting the COVID-19 virus is so low
that a vaccine is not necessary for me
28% None of these concern me
“The likelihood of experiencing a severe side effect is less than 0.5%.”
“Mild side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection.”
“Most side effects should go away in a few days.”
Messages to Explain Short-Term Side Effects
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Some people report common, mild side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine such as
arm pain where the injection occurred, as well as headache or fatigue. Which
statement about side effects do you find MOST reassuring? (top 3 responses)
Democrats are persuaded by the world; Republicans are
persuaded by the U.S.
Whom do you trust the most when it comes to deciding whether to take the vaccine? …leading scientists and researchers?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
56%
46%
66%
44%
54%
34%
America’s World’s America’s World’s America’s World’s
Total Democrats Republicans
Medical experts are the most trusted for vaccine advice
Do you trust America’s leading… most when it comes to deciding whether or not to take the vaccine?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
49%
Medical experts
Health experts
27%
Scientists
24%
The word vaccination is already embedded in our lexicon.
Call it what it is.
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Which word would make you most willing to take a COVID-19 treatment... If it was a/an?
40%
31%
13%
7%
5%
3%
Vaccination
Immunization
Shot
Injection
Inoculation
Jab
Saving lives is still the most convincing argument, but it
works much less well among Republicans than Dems
Which is the MOST convincing and compelling benefit to take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to you?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem Swing GOP
52% 66% 46% 44% It will prevent more people from getting sick and prevent more deaths
26% 17% 29% 32% It will allow us to reopen the economy and get people back to work faster
22% 17% 26% 24% It will allow us to resume normal life faster
Among the most vaccine-resistant populations, preventing
sickness/death resonates. For GOP ages 18-49 it’s the economy.
Which is the MOST convincing and compelling benefit to take the COVID-19
vaccine as soon as it is available to you?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total
Rural/
Farm
Low
socio-
economic
GOP
18-49
52% 49% 54% 33%
It will prevent more people from getting sick and prevent more
deaths
26% 23% 22% 38%
It will allow us to reopen the economy and get people back to work
faster
22% 28% 24% 29% It will allow us to resume normal life faster
Among the populations least likely to get a vaccine, preventing
sickness/death resonates. For Republicans 18-49, it’s the economy.
Which is the MOST convincing and compelling benefit to take the COVID-19
vaccine as soon as it is available to you?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total White Latinx Black
52% 54% 50% 51%
It will prevent more people from getting sick and prevent more
deaths
26% 23% 40% 25%
It will allow us to reopen the economy and get people back to work
faster
22% 23% 11% 25% It will allow us to resume normal life faster
Consequences of not getting vaccination, by party: Economy
vs. health/hospitals
Other than your own health, which consequence from NOT getting
the vaccine would bother you the MOST? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
55% 43% 66% The damage to the economy from continued lockdowns
48% 61% 42% The potential for your friends and family to become ill - or worse
44% 57% 32% The increasing burden on our hospitals and healthcare system
29% 31% 26% The impact on mental health if the virus continues
28% 15% 42% The loss of our freedoms to live our lives the way we want without interference
26% 24% 25% The continued closure of schools, putting students even further behind
25% 23% 28% We'll have to keep wearing masks for six months or even a year or longer
The consequences of not getting vaccinated that matter the
least, by party
Other than your own health, which consequence from NOT getting
the vaccine would bother you the MOST? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
17% 14% 16% The competitive disadvantage Americans will face compared to other countries
15% 14% 14%
Missing events and celebrations like birthdays, holidays, concerts, sporting
events, and eating out
14% 16% 9% The inability to travel safely and easily by subway, bus, train or plane
The consequences of not getting vaccinated that matter the
most, by race
Other than your own health, which consequence from NOT getting the vaccine
would bother you the MOST? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Latinx Black
55% 51% 37% The damage to the economy from continued lockdowns
48% 54% 43% The potential for your friends and family to become ill - or worse
44% 39% 41% The increasing burden on our hospitals and healthcare system
29% 31% 32% The impact on mental health if the virus continues
28% 27% 26% The loss of our freedoms to live our lives the way we want without interference
26% 15% 28% The continued closure of schools, putting students even further behind
25% 35% 32% We'll have to keep wearing masks for six months or even a year or longer
The benefit of the vaccine (health vs. economy) must be tailored
Which of the following possible benefits from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available would you
find the MOST convincing and compelling? (Combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
48% 56% 45% It would prevent more illnesses and deaths in America
35% 28% 48% It would get the economy moving again
35% 32% 37% Not having to worry about getting sick from the virus
34% 37% 33% It would protect my friends and family
31% 29% 38% Life will return to normal
The less impactful benefits of the vaccine…
Which of the following possible benefits from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's
available would you find the MOST convincing and compelling? (Combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
21% 22% 16% I can be close to my friends and loved ones with peace of mind
19% 21% 19%
It'll allow us to once again enjoy the special events of life, like birthdays,
holidays, concerts, sports, and going to restaurants and bars
18% 21% 12% It's returning the favor to frontline workers who've had it the worst
16% 11% 15% The vaccine is easy to take -- it's like any other shot
The least impactful benefits of the vaccine… the focus on
racial justice is last
Which of the following possible benefits from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available would you find the MOST
convincing and compelling? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
14% 15% 7% It will help us unite as a country
13% 8% 17% We would not have to be as stringent about wearing masks and social distancing
9% 11% 9% I am participating in something truly historic - a moment of human progress
7% 11% 3%
It's supporting racial justice and equality, since the virus hurts certain
communities more than others
The differing perceptions and priorities between younger and
older Black Americans is significant
Which of the following possible benefits from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's
available would you find the MOST convincing and compelling? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total
Black
18-49
Black
50+
48% 31% 66% It would prevent more illnesses and deaths in America
35% 23% 21% It would get the economy moving again
35% 23% 48% Not having to worry about getting sick from the virus
34% 28% 49% It would protect my friends and family
31% 40% 25% Life will return to normal
VACCINE LANGUAGE AND MESSAGING
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
KEY FINDINGS
• Democrats (and Latinx and Black Americans) see the vaccine as a means to health and
safety, while swing voters and Republicans see it as an economic boon in our return to
normal. You need to apply BOTH messages to reach everyone.
• Don’t treat getting the vaccine as a responsibility or an altruistic action for the
betterment of wider society or the country. ALWAYS personalize it down to family and for
how it helps people on an individual level in their lives. If you come across as scornful or
moralizing, you will lose people, and if you treat hesitancy with kid gloves (calling people
who have concerns as “misled” or “well-meaning”), it will immediately alienate them.
• Campaigns aimed at promoting vaccinations need to focus on how we can stay safe and
healthy and live our daily lives like we used to. You need all three in language and in
visuals – that’s why taking off a mask or visiting a family for a holidays will resonate so
much more than inauthentic “shows” like famous people getting vaccinated together.
Emphasize the personal benefits of the vaccine.
Avoid moralizing and lecturing.
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Which statement about the need to get vaccinated for COVID-19 is MOST convincing and compelling
to you in getting vaccinated yourself?
“Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your
family, your community, the economy, and your
country healthy and safe.”
“Taking the vaccine is the right thing to do for
yourself, for your family, your community, the
economy and for the country.”
38%
62%
53%
20%
13%
8% 6%
Family is by far the most powerful motivator.“Do it for …”
Other than yourself, would you be MOST willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine for...?
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Your family Your country/
America
The economy Your community Your friends
“At 95% efficacy, this vaccine is extraordinarily effective
at protecting you from the virus.”
“Vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end.”
“Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community,
and your country healthy and safe.”
Messages to Make the Case for Vaccination
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Which would you find MOST convincing and compelling in getting vaccinated yourself?
(top 3 responses)
Vaccine attributes that matter, by party
When you think about both COVID-19 and the vaccination, what word best describes
what you want most? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
45% 41% 53% A return to normal
42% 44% 42% Health
41% 49% 30% Safety
36% 38% 39% Immunity
32% 35% 31% Peace of mind
26% 28% 23% Wellness
Total Dem GOP
24% 12% 37% Freedom
14% 13% 15% Security
14% 11% 16% Certainty
10% 9% 5% Victory
9% 14% 4% Equality
6% 6% 5% Predictability
Vaccine attributes that matter, by race
When you think about both COVID-19 and the vaccination, what word best describes
what you want most? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Latinx Black
45% 39% 42% A return to normal
42% 42% 40% Health
41% 33% 44% Safety
36% 36% 24% Immunity
32% 31% 35% Peace of mind
26% 30% 27% Wellness
Total Latinx Black
24% 19% 26% Freedom
14% 17% 14% Security
14% 21% 13% Certainty
10% 12% 13% Victory
9% 15% 16% Equality
6% 5% 7% Predictability
Vaccine attributes that matter to groups least likely to take it
When you think about both COVID-19 and the vaccination, what word best describes
what you want most? (Combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Rural
GOP
18-49
45% 39% 37% A return to normal
42% 28% 38% Health
41% 54% 42% Safety
36% 24% 34% Immunity
32% 28% 31% Peace of mind
26% 26% 25% Wellness
Total Rural
GOP
18-49
24% 28% 35% Freedom
14% 21% 22% Security
14% 25% 21% Certainty
10% 7% 7% Victory
9% 10% 5% Equality
6% 12% 3% Predictability
Among all groups tested, positioning the vaccine as “the right
thing to do” appealed the most only to Latinx respondents.
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Which statement about the need to get vaccinated for COVID-19 is MOST convincing and compelling
to you in getting vaccinated yourself?
Total Latinx
62% 41%
Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community,
the economy, and your country healthy and safe.
38% 59%
Taking the vaccine is the right thing to do for yourself, for your family,
your community, the economy and for the country.
For Democrats it’s about protecting people.
For Republicans, it’s about a “return to our lives.”
Which of the following slogans would be MOST convincing and compelling for you to consider getting
the COVID-19 vaccine? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
33% 40% 26% Do it for yourself, for your family, for your country
32% 39% 28% Protect your family and your community
28% 30% 28% Make the smart choice. Make the healthy choice.
28% 30% 21% To defeat the pandemic
27% 16% 40% A return to our way of life
21% 24% 15% Do your part
21% 15% 24% Let's move on with our lives
21% 12% 33% Reopen the economy
20% 20% 23% A return to normalcy
Over-caffeinated language is inauthentic and ineffective
Which of the following slogans would be MOST convincing and compelling for you to consider getting
the COVID-19 vaccine? (combined)
ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
Total Dem GOP
16% 17% 12% Reconnect with the people and things you love
14% 12% 15% I want YOU to get vaccinated
13% 14% 9% We can do this
11% 9% 8% We did it!
9% 10% 12% Change the course of history
8% 11% 5% Be the hero your friends and family need
“It’s not what you say.
It’s what people hear.”
Dr. Frank I. Luntz
http://debeaumont.org/changing-the-covid-conversation

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Poll: The Language of Vaccine Acceptance

  • 2. • The de Beaumont Foundation and Frank Luntz conducted a poll to identify effective ways to communicate about the COVID-19 vaccine to all Americans, including those who are concerned about getting vaccinated. • Nationwide survey of 1,400 registered voters Dec. 21-22 (+3% margin of error). This included an oversample of 300 Black Americans and 300 Latinx Americans. • Representative sample of Americans nationally, including political affiliation, age, gender, ethnicity, education, and income. • A focus on the specific words, sentences, phrases, and attributes Americans need to hear to reduce concerns and increase trust in taking the COVID-19 vaccine. VACCINE COMMUNICATIONS POLL Dr. Frank I. Luntz ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
  • 3. • In developing and analyzing the survey, the de Beaumont Foundation partnered with: o American Public Health Association o National Collaborative for Health Equity o Resolve to Save Lives, an Initiative of Vital Strategies VACCINE COMMUNICATIONS POLL ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
  • 4. • Tailor messages for your particular audience, because Americans’ priorities and perceptions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine differ significantly by political party, race, geography, and age. • Emphasize the benefits of taking the vaccine, not just the consequences of not taking it. Focus on the fact that taking the vaccine will keep them and their families safe and healthy, rather than calling it the “right” thing to do. • Among the groups least likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine are rural Americans, Republicans age 18-49, Black Americans 18-49, and women 18-49, and those from low socio-economic environments. The groups that need the least persuading are opinion influencers, people over age 65, and white Democrats. • Fear and uncertainty about long-term side effects are primary drivers of hesitancy. • Avoid judgmental language when talking about people who are concerned about taking the vaccine, whatever their reasons. Emphasize that it’s understandable that some people are skeptical or concerned about the vaccine. KEY FINDINGS AND TIPS ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
  • 5. • The best way to overcome the political divide on COVID-19 is to link improved health to a faster return to normal and reopening of the economy. There is a direct link between 1) opposition to behavior that prevents and treats COVID-19 and 2) rising economic fear, so you need both messages simultaneously. • Leaders must clearly and succinctly explain vaccine development and distribution, led by America’s leading medical experts. It is not a given. Emphasize the commitment to accountability, transparency, rigor, and continuous oversight every step of the way. The best way to respond to critics that we’ve moved too fast is to talk about the unprecedented global cooperation, under the watchful eye of the FDA. • Talk about the people, not the organizations, who developed the vaccine – instead of science, health, and medical companies or their CEOs, refer to the individual scientists, health and medical experts, and researchers. KEY FINDINGS AND TIPS ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
  • 6. WORDS THAT WORK Imagine the day you can stop wearing a mask … or when you can gather indoors at your favorite restaurant again with friends and family for a celebratory meal. That day is coming, but only if we do what needs to be done today to keep ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country healthy and safe. The groundbreaking cooperation between leading medical experts here in America and pharmaceutical companies globally has made a return to normal possible thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. The speed of development was due to the sharing of research on a scale never attempted before – with every study and every phase of every trial carefully reviewed and approved by a safety board and the FDA. The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual oversight and expert approval. As we begin distribution, frontline workers and those most at-risk from the virus will get the vaccination first. If you’re skeptical or concerned about side effects, we hear you. When side effects do occur, they are a normal sign your body is building protection to the virus, and most go away in a few days. The likelihood of a severe side effect is less than 0.5%. Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe. At 95% efficacy, the vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus. By getting vaccinated, you can end the damage to the economy, prevent more illnesses and deaths, and help eliminate and eradicate COVID-19. What our leaders need say to build confidence in the vaccine and encourage people to take it: ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
  • 7. ChangingTheCovidConversation.org VACCINE WORDS TO USE & LOSE (1) Words to USE Words to LOSE America’s leading medical experts America’s leading health experts Research Discover/create/invent Medical researchers Drug companies Damage from lockdowns Inability to travel easily and safely A transparent, rigorous process The $ spent/the # of trials & people Safety Security Pharmaceutical companies Drug companies Your family Your community
  • 8. ChangingTheCovidConversation.org VACCINE WORDS TO USE & LOSE (2) Words to USE Words to LOSE A return to normal Predictability The benefits from taking it The consequences from not taking it Globally Internationally/around the world Advanced/ground-breaking Historic Vaccination Injection/inoculation Taking the vaccine will help keep you safe Taking the vaccine is the right thing to do America’s leading experts The world’s leading experts Skeptical/concerned about the vaccine Misled/confused about the vaccine
  • 9. PERCEPTIONS OF COVID-19 & VACCINES ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
  • 10. KEY FINDINGS • The partisan divide on whether to get vaccinated is troubling. Republicans are 20% less likely to get a vaccine today than Democrats. This reinforces the need to have individualized and personalized messaging for different populations. Democrats value the level of global cooperation. Republicans trust American medical experts and the level of rigorous detail and FDA oversight. • The urgency to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available needs to be emphasized. Only 35% of Americans say they would get the vaccine right now, while 18% say they will never take it. The only measure of communication success is the percentage of people who get the vaccine and/or the percentage who say they will get the vaccine “as soon as it’s available.” • The two most important attributes of the vaccine are safety and effectiveness. People know it’s effective, but they are much more skeptical about safety. You don’t need to spend time on effectiveness; the 95% efficacy rate is your greatest asset in that area.
  • 11. The partisan divide on getting vaccinated is shocking If a vaccine against COVID-19 were available to you today, at no cost, how likely would you be to get it? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 60% 23% 17% Probably Probably not Not sure 73% 13% 15% Probably Probably not Not sure 53% 33% 14% Probably Probably not Not sure
  • 12. The groups MOST likely to get vaccinated If a vaccine against COVID-19 were available to you today, at no cost, how likely would you be to get it? (% “absolutely certain” to get a COVID vaccine) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org 62% 61% 57% 57% 56% 56% 55% 55% White Democrats Opinion Elites 65+ Flu shot this/last year High socio-economic Liberals Know someone who died of COVID Men 50+
  • 13. The groups LEAST likely to get vaccinated If a vaccine against COVID-19 were available to you today, at no cost, how likely would you be to get it? (% “absolutely certain” to get a COVID vaccine) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org 14% 20% 26% 26% 27% 28% 29% 29% No flu shot this/last year Little/no serious COVID concerns Rural/farm community Low socio-economic GOP 18-49 Black 18-49 Primary news from the web Women 18-49
  • 14. Republicans are significantly less likely to take the vaccine now…or ever Right now, what is your plan for taking the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered to you? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 35% 43% 33% I want to take it immediately 9% 10% 7% I want to wait a few days 11% 14% 7% I want to wait a few weeks 17% 15% 18% I want to wait a few months 6% 5% 6% I want to wait at least a year 5% 5% 4% I want to be one of the last people to take it 18% 9% 25% I am not going to take the vaccine
  • 15. There’s a little more skepticism about safety than efficacy… but not much From what you know right now, how safe do you think the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are? Are they...? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem Swing GOP 56% 67% 53% 51% Safe (NET) 22% 13% 24% 30% Not safe (NET) Total Dem Swing GOP 58% 70% 53% 53% Effective (NET) 17% 10% 15% 23% Not effective (NET) From what you know right now, how effective do you think the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are? Are they...?
  • 16. Among Black Americans, belief in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine is lower From what you know right now, how safe do you think the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are? Are they...? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total White Latino Black 56% 58% 51% 48% Safe (NET) 22% 23% 28% 25% Not safe (NET) Total White Latino Black 58% 59% 63% 51% Effective (NET) 17% 17% 13% 23% Not effective (NET) From what you know right now, how effective do you think the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are? Are they...?
  • 17. The electoral impact of the vaccine is significant… but for Republicans, it is much less impactful Would you be... to vote for someone running for office if they themselves received and encouraged other Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org 65% 4% Dem More likely Less likely 53% 5% Swing 33% 11% GOP More likely More likely Less likely Less likely
  • 18. VACCINE DEVELOPMENT AND DISTRIBUTION ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
  • 19. KEY FINDINGS • Reducing hesitancy begins with the point of delivery. Americans are most comfortable having the vaccine distributed and administered by THEIR healthcare provider. They are trusted much more than pharmacies or any government agency. • To build trust and confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, highlight the specific facts about vaccine development. In particular, describe the “research” (and that specific word over others like “study” or “invent”) that led to the vaccine as “rigorous and transparent, with continual oversight.” The oversight and approval is also essential. • Thanks to the messaging that’s been coming from Washington, you need to explain how the vaccine was developed so quickly. Focus on “the unprecedented global cooperation” among “medical experts” (not “health experts” or “scientists”). The high number of trial participants is irrelevant to people.
  • 20. KEY FINDINGS • The language device of “every” can help you reassure people about the vaccine development process. “Every study, every phase, and every trial…” underscores that all of the research was carefully reviewed by the FDA and a safety board. Repetition is necessary. • The public accepts the need to make the vaccine available to certain groups first, such as frontline healthcare workers or those most at-risk of illness. But this goodwill may be eroded if they perceive that well-connected people (the wealthy for Democrats and celebrities for Republicans) have jumped the line.
  • 21. “The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual oversight from medical experts and final approval by the FDA.” “Data will continue to be collected two years after the vaccine is administered to ensure that the long-term effects are safe for people.” “This vaccine followed the same review process of every other vaccine.” Messages to Explain the Review Process ChangingTheCovidConversation.org What facts about the development and approval of the COVID-19 vaccine would give you the most trust and confidence to take it?
  • 22. Americans trust their healthcare provider most ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Whom do you trust and should be MOST responsible for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine? (combined) 50% 39% 38% 23% 22% 19% 9% Your healthcare provider Your state public health agency Federal public health agencies Your local public health agency Your local pharmacy National pharmacies Your place of work
  • 23. Focus on the individuals, not the companies ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Regarding the development and approval of the COVID-19 vaccine, which of these factors would give you the most trust and confidence to take it? The unprecedented cooperation between scientists, health and medical experts, and researchers internationally. The unprecedented cooperation between science, health, and medical companies internationally 29% 71%
  • 24. Speak to the “research” undertaken in developing the vaccine. Nothing else is effective. ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Which of the following actions by the science and medical communities gives you the most trust and confidence in the process that led to a COVID-19 vaccine? (combined) 66% 33% 28% 20% 17% 14% 12% 9% Research Study Investigate Examine Innovate Discover Create Invent
  • 25. Explain the science with language that celebrates the vaccine realistically. Don’t romanticize it. ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Which description of the science that led to the COVID-19 vaccine would give you the most trust and confidence in the vaccine? (Combined) 40% 38% 32% 32% 32% 24% 19% 19% 19% 18% 18% 8% Advanced Groundbreaking Cutting-edge Unprecedented Innovative State-of-the-art Historic Inventive Extraordinary Amazing Modern Futuristic
  • 26. Words That Build Trust and Confidence ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Which description of the science that led to the COVID-19 vaccine would give you the most trust and confidence in the vaccine? (combined) Total Latinx Black 40% 26% 31% Advanced 38% 29% 32% Groundbreaking 32% 28% 29% Cutting-edge 32% 39% 31% Unprecedented 32% 35% 38% Innovative 24% 18% 21% State-of-the-art Total Latinx Black 19% 23% 24% Historic 19% 24% 26% Inventive 19% 18% 20% Extraordinary 18% 18% 12% Amazing 18% 31% 20% Modern 8% 11% 15% Futuristic
  • 28. KEY FINDINGS • Family health and safety is the most powerful motivator for the vaccine among most segments of the population. Just as taking measures to stop the spread of COVID is seen as a personal responsibility, protecting your family is seen as a positive by everyone. • Promoting the BENEFITS of the vaccine outweigh the CONSEQUENCES of not taking it -- but you need both. Start with the positive, move to the negative, and then end with the positive. In the eyes of Americans, the benefit of getting vaccinated that matters most is preventing more people (i.e., their family) from getting sick or dying. The consequence of not getting it is the continued damage to the economy. Then end by linking public health with economic health. • The “back to normal life” message appeals a lot more to younger Republicans (who are among the most hesitant to get the vaccine) but fails among Latinx Americans.
  • 29. KEY FINDINGS • Fear of side effects are the greatest impediment to reducing vaccine hesitancy. Nothing else comes close. There needs to be a three-pronged approach to alleviating the concerns and skepticism stemming from side effects long and short term; • Emphasize the likelihood of experiencing a severe side effect is less than 0.5%. Here, the numerical data is needed to reassure people. • Tell people that a minor reaction is simply a sign that your body is building protection against the virus. • Finally, reassure people that most side effects only last a day or two.
  • 30. Hesitancy is significantly higher among Republicans than Democrats From what you currently know, which vaccine would you be MOST willing to take? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 21% 25% 18% Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 20% 22% 17% Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine 7% 7% 6% Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine 5% 6% 5% AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine 25% 28% 25% I would be willing to take any COVID-19 vaccine 22% 12% 29% I would not take a COVID-19 vaccine
  • 31. The key to reducing hesitancy: Address long-term side effects Regardless of whether you plan to be vaccinated, what is your biggest hesitancy with taking the COVID-19 vaccine, if any? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total 45% I'm worried about the unknown long-term side effects of the vaccine that we won't know for years 31% I'm worried about the potential short-term side effects from taking the vaccine 25% I'm worried about the unknown length of immunity that the vaccine provides 25% I'm worried about the speed at which the vaccine has been developed 24% I'm worried about the speed at which the vaccine has been approved by public health officials
  • 32. The less common worries… Regardless of whether you plan to be vaccinated, what is your biggest hesitancy with taking the COVID-19 vaccine, if any? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total 16% There is too much conflicting information out there whether to take the vaccine 12% I am worried about getting COVID-19 from taking the vaccine. 11% I'm worried about how much I will have to pay for the vaccine 9% I am scared of shots in general, COVID is just another one 8% The threat of coronavirus is overblown. The chance of me getting the COVID-19 virus is so low that a vaccine is not necessary for me 28% None of these concern me
  • 33. “The likelihood of experiencing a severe side effect is less than 0.5%.” “Mild side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection.” “Most side effects should go away in a few days.” Messages to Explain Short-Term Side Effects ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Some people report common, mild side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine such as arm pain where the injection occurred, as well as headache or fatigue. Which statement about side effects do you find MOST reassuring? (top 3 responses)
  • 34. Democrats are persuaded by the world; Republicans are persuaded by the U.S. Whom do you trust the most when it comes to deciding whether to take the vaccine? …leading scientists and researchers? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org 56% 46% 66% 44% 54% 34% America’s World’s America’s World’s America’s World’s Total Democrats Republicans
  • 35. Medical experts are the most trusted for vaccine advice Do you trust America’s leading… most when it comes to deciding whether or not to take the vaccine? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org 49% Medical experts Health experts 27% Scientists 24%
  • 36. The word vaccination is already embedded in our lexicon. Call it what it is. ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Which word would make you most willing to take a COVID-19 treatment... If it was a/an? 40% 31% 13% 7% 5% 3% Vaccination Immunization Shot Injection Inoculation Jab
  • 37. Saving lives is still the most convincing argument, but it works much less well among Republicans than Dems Which is the MOST convincing and compelling benefit to take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to you? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem Swing GOP 52% 66% 46% 44% It will prevent more people from getting sick and prevent more deaths 26% 17% 29% 32% It will allow us to reopen the economy and get people back to work faster 22% 17% 26% 24% It will allow us to resume normal life faster
  • 38. Among the most vaccine-resistant populations, preventing sickness/death resonates. For GOP ages 18-49 it’s the economy. Which is the MOST convincing and compelling benefit to take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to you? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Rural/ Farm Low socio- economic GOP 18-49 52% 49% 54% 33% It will prevent more people from getting sick and prevent more deaths 26% 23% 22% 38% It will allow us to reopen the economy and get people back to work faster 22% 28% 24% 29% It will allow us to resume normal life faster
  • 39. Among the populations least likely to get a vaccine, preventing sickness/death resonates. For Republicans 18-49, it’s the economy. Which is the MOST convincing and compelling benefit to take the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to you? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total White Latinx Black 52% 54% 50% 51% It will prevent more people from getting sick and prevent more deaths 26% 23% 40% 25% It will allow us to reopen the economy and get people back to work faster 22% 23% 11% 25% It will allow us to resume normal life faster
  • 40. Consequences of not getting vaccination, by party: Economy vs. health/hospitals Other than your own health, which consequence from NOT getting the vaccine would bother you the MOST? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 55% 43% 66% The damage to the economy from continued lockdowns 48% 61% 42% The potential for your friends and family to become ill - or worse 44% 57% 32% The increasing burden on our hospitals and healthcare system 29% 31% 26% The impact on mental health if the virus continues 28% 15% 42% The loss of our freedoms to live our lives the way we want without interference 26% 24% 25% The continued closure of schools, putting students even further behind 25% 23% 28% We'll have to keep wearing masks for six months or even a year or longer
  • 41. The consequences of not getting vaccinated that matter the least, by party Other than your own health, which consequence from NOT getting the vaccine would bother you the MOST? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 17% 14% 16% The competitive disadvantage Americans will face compared to other countries 15% 14% 14% Missing events and celebrations like birthdays, holidays, concerts, sporting events, and eating out 14% 16% 9% The inability to travel safely and easily by subway, bus, train or plane
  • 42. The consequences of not getting vaccinated that matter the most, by race Other than your own health, which consequence from NOT getting the vaccine would bother you the MOST? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Latinx Black 55% 51% 37% The damage to the economy from continued lockdowns 48% 54% 43% The potential for your friends and family to become ill - or worse 44% 39% 41% The increasing burden on our hospitals and healthcare system 29% 31% 32% The impact on mental health if the virus continues 28% 27% 26% The loss of our freedoms to live our lives the way we want without interference 26% 15% 28% The continued closure of schools, putting students even further behind 25% 35% 32% We'll have to keep wearing masks for six months or even a year or longer
  • 43. The benefit of the vaccine (health vs. economy) must be tailored Which of the following possible benefits from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available would you find the MOST convincing and compelling? (Combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 48% 56% 45% It would prevent more illnesses and deaths in America 35% 28% 48% It would get the economy moving again 35% 32% 37% Not having to worry about getting sick from the virus 34% 37% 33% It would protect my friends and family 31% 29% 38% Life will return to normal
  • 44. The less impactful benefits of the vaccine… Which of the following possible benefits from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available would you find the MOST convincing and compelling? (Combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 21% 22% 16% I can be close to my friends and loved ones with peace of mind 19% 21% 19% It'll allow us to once again enjoy the special events of life, like birthdays, holidays, concerts, sports, and going to restaurants and bars 18% 21% 12% It's returning the favor to frontline workers who've had it the worst 16% 11% 15% The vaccine is easy to take -- it's like any other shot
  • 45. The least impactful benefits of the vaccine… the focus on racial justice is last Which of the following possible benefits from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available would you find the MOST convincing and compelling? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 14% 15% 7% It will help us unite as a country 13% 8% 17% We would not have to be as stringent about wearing masks and social distancing 9% 11% 9% I am participating in something truly historic - a moment of human progress 7% 11% 3% It's supporting racial justice and equality, since the virus hurts certain communities more than others
  • 46. The differing perceptions and priorities between younger and older Black Americans is significant Which of the following possible benefits from getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available would you find the MOST convincing and compelling? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Black 18-49 Black 50+ 48% 31% 66% It would prevent more illnesses and deaths in America 35% 23% 21% It would get the economy moving again 35% 23% 48% Not having to worry about getting sick from the virus 34% 28% 49% It would protect my friends and family 31% 40% 25% Life will return to normal
  • 47. VACCINE LANGUAGE AND MESSAGING ChangingTheCovidConversation.org
  • 48. KEY FINDINGS • Democrats (and Latinx and Black Americans) see the vaccine as a means to health and safety, while swing voters and Republicans see it as an economic boon in our return to normal. You need to apply BOTH messages to reach everyone. • Don’t treat getting the vaccine as a responsibility or an altruistic action for the betterment of wider society or the country. ALWAYS personalize it down to family and for how it helps people on an individual level in their lives. If you come across as scornful or moralizing, you will lose people, and if you treat hesitancy with kid gloves (calling people who have concerns as “misled” or “well-meaning”), it will immediately alienate them. • Campaigns aimed at promoting vaccinations need to focus on how we can stay safe and healthy and live our daily lives like we used to. You need all three in language and in visuals – that’s why taking off a mask or visiting a family for a holidays will resonate so much more than inauthentic “shows” like famous people getting vaccinated together.
  • 49. Emphasize the personal benefits of the vaccine. Avoid moralizing and lecturing. ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Which statement about the need to get vaccinated for COVID-19 is MOST convincing and compelling to you in getting vaccinated yourself? “Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, the economy, and your country healthy and safe.” “Taking the vaccine is the right thing to do for yourself, for your family, your community, the economy and for the country.” 38% 62%
  • 50. 53% 20% 13% 8% 6% Family is by far the most powerful motivator.“Do it for …” Other than yourself, would you be MOST willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine for...? ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Your family Your country/ America The economy Your community Your friends
  • 51. “At 95% efficacy, this vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus.” “Vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end.” “Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, and your country healthy and safe.” Messages to Make the Case for Vaccination ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Which would you find MOST convincing and compelling in getting vaccinated yourself? (top 3 responses)
  • 52. Vaccine attributes that matter, by party When you think about both COVID-19 and the vaccination, what word best describes what you want most? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 45% 41% 53% A return to normal 42% 44% 42% Health 41% 49% 30% Safety 36% 38% 39% Immunity 32% 35% 31% Peace of mind 26% 28% 23% Wellness Total Dem GOP 24% 12% 37% Freedom 14% 13% 15% Security 14% 11% 16% Certainty 10% 9% 5% Victory 9% 14% 4% Equality 6% 6% 5% Predictability
  • 53. Vaccine attributes that matter, by race When you think about both COVID-19 and the vaccination, what word best describes what you want most? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Latinx Black 45% 39% 42% A return to normal 42% 42% 40% Health 41% 33% 44% Safety 36% 36% 24% Immunity 32% 31% 35% Peace of mind 26% 30% 27% Wellness Total Latinx Black 24% 19% 26% Freedom 14% 17% 14% Security 14% 21% 13% Certainty 10% 12% 13% Victory 9% 15% 16% Equality 6% 5% 7% Predictability
  • 54. Vaccine attributes that matter to groups least likely to take it When you think about both COVID-19 and the vaccination, what word best describes what you want most? (Combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Rural GOP 18-49 45% 39% 37% A return to normal 42% 28% 38% Health 41% 54% 42% Safety 36% 24% 34% Immunity 32% 28% 31% Peace of mind 26% 26% 25% Wellness Total Rural GOP 18-49 24% 28% 35% Freedom 14% 21% 22% Security 14% 25% 21% Certainty 10% 7% 7% Victory 9% 10% 5% Equality 6% 12% 3% Predictability
  • 55. Among all groups tested, positioning the vaccine as “the right thing to do” appealed the most only to Latinx respondents. ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Which statement about the need to get vaccinated for COVID-19 is MOST convincing and compelling to you in getting vaccinated yourself? Total Latinx 62% 41% Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, the economy, and your country healthy and safe. 38% 59% Taking the vaccine is the right thing to do for yourself, for your family, your community, the economy and for the country.
  • 56. For Democrats it’s about protecting people. For Republicans, it’s about a “return to our lives.” Which of the following slogans would be MOST convincing and compelling for you to consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 33% 40% 26% Do it for yourself, for your family, for your country 32% 39% 28% Protect your family and your community 28% 30% 28% Make the smart choice. Make the healthy choice. 28% 30% 21% To defeat the pandemic 27% 16% 40% A return to our way of life 21% 24% 15% Do your part 21% 15% 24% Let's move on with our lives 21% 12% 33% Reopen the economy 20% 20% 23% A return to normalcy
  • 57. Over-caffeinated language is inauthentic and ineffective Which of the following slogans would be MOST convincing and compelling for you to consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine? (combined) ChangingTheCovidConversation.org Total Dem GOP 16% 17% 12% Reconnect with the people and things you love 14% 12% 15% I want YOU to get vaccinated 13% 14% 9% We can do this 11% 9% 8% We did it! 9% 10% 12% Change the course of history 8% 11% 5% Be the hero your friends and family need
  • 58. “It’s not what you say. It’s what people hear.” Dr. Frank I. Luntz http://debeaumont.org/changing-the-covid-conversation