Vaccination invitations sent by warm and competent medical professionals disclosing risks and benefits increase trust and booking intention and reduce inequalities between ethnic groups

Marie Juanchich*, Claire Oakley, Hazel Sayer, Dawn Holford, Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Cara Booker, Tim Chadborn, Gaelle Vallee-Tourangeau, Reed M. Wood, Miroslav Sirota

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Objective We aim to identify vaccination invitations that foster trust and improve vaccination uptake
overall, especially among ethnic minority groups who are more at risk from COVID and less likely to
be vaccinated.

Methods In a pre-registered 4 x 4 mixed-design experiment, we manipulated how much risk-benefit
information the message included within-subjects and the message source between-subjects (N =
4,038 UK and US participants, 50% ethnic minority). Participants read four vaccine invitations that
varied in vaccination risk-benefit information (randomized order): Control (no information), Benefits
only, Risk & benefit and Risk & benefit that mentions vulnerable groups. The messages were sent by
one of four sources (random allocation): Control (health institution: NHS/CVS), Medical professional
(unnamed), Warm and competent medical professional (unnamed) and Named warm and
competent medical professional (Sanjay/Lamar). Participants assessed how much they trusted the
message and how likely they would be to book their vaccination appointment.

Results Information about vaccination benefits and risks increased trust, especially among ethnic
minority groups - for whom the effect replicated within each group. Trust also increased when the
message was sent by a warm and competent medical professional relative to a health institution,
but the importance of the source mattered less when more information was shared.

Conclusions Our research demonstrates the positive impact of outlining the benefits and disclosing
the risks of COVID vaccines in vaccination invitation messages. Having a warm and competent
medical professional source can also increase trust, especially where the message is limited in scope.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Apr 2024

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