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Risk Perception and Vaccine Incentives in the context of Covid 19

Risk Perception and Vaccine Incentives in the context of Covid 19 by Emma Howard, Technological University Dublin

18th Jan 2022 online

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This paper investigates how best to communicate health risks, and incentivise  vaccine uptake in the context of Covid19. Using a randomised experimental survey  design on a nationally representative sample of Irish adults the survey tests (1) how  data on the risks of transmitting Covid19 can best be communicated, and (2) how  information on vaccines can be presented to maximise uptake. Additionally, the  survey measures perceived relative risk of death from Covid19 and tests incentives  to increase vaccine uptake. The analysis shows a majority of adults perceive a  higher risk of death from Covid19 for others than they perceive for themselves, and  that the risk factors of age and underlying health conditions are well understood.  The treatment designed to better communicate Covid 19 transmission risks has  very little effect, suggesting that people believe they understand the transmission  mechanisms and mitigation strategies. The results show only a small percentage of  Irish adults are vaccine hesitant, and the hesitant are more likely to be young and  female. Voting behaviour explains much of the variation in likelihood of vaccine  acceptance, with those who voted for government parties more likely to accept a  vaccine. All the incentives tested were unpopular. The average likely vaccine  uptake under the incentives was significantly lower than without the incentive in  place. However, for those who are vaccine hesitant, three of the policy incentives  tested increased their likelihood of accepting a vaccine.