Why telling stories could be a more powerful way of convincing some people to take a COVID vaccine than just the facts

One question therefore becomes crucial: how will governments convince enough people to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity? One method might be to use emotional storytelling to sway people who aren’t convinced by fact-based logical messaging.

To deal with such fears, the Australian government has crafted public health messages that appeal to logic using facts, figures and explanations about how the process has been done safely.

Evidence suggests vaccine-hesitant groups are less likely to respond to factual information particularly from “pro-vaccine” sources.

But they may respond more to personal stories about the effects of the virus. In my area of research, we call these stories “cultural health narratives”.

We tell stories about our lives to ourselves, our friends and families through conversations, photo diaries and social media. We consume other people’s stories through novels, news, movies and so on.

By Margie Rogers, University of New England for The Conversation

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