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How to dissuade parents from believing in anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories

Cookson, Darel, POVEY, Rachel, Jolley, Daniel and Dempsey, Robert (2021) How to dissuade parents from believing in anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories. The Conversation.

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Abstract or description

Older people may be more vulnerable to COVID, but in the UK it’s the young that are now driving the pandemic. Last month, school-age children in Britain were 15 times more likely than people over 80 to have the coronavirus.

Leaving young people unvaccinated partly explains why cases have been so high in this group. This is why many countries are now offering COVID jabs to children. In the UK, all 12 to 15-year-olds are being offered a first vaccine dose. Some countries – such as the US and Israel – are offering COVID vaccines to children aged five and over.

Of course, with younger children, it’s their parents that decide whether they get the jab – and vaccine hesitancy can be a problem. In a recent US poll, three in ten parents said they would definitely not vaccinate their child against COVID. Concerns about side-effects or the perceived lower risk of COVID to kids may explain this. However, anti-vaccine conspiracy theories may also be playing a role.

We know that anti-vaccine conspiracy beliefs can be a barrier to vaccine uptake. A 2014 study showed that British parents exposed to anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, when asked to imagine that they had a fictional eight-month-old, were less likely to get that child vaccinated. Also, a more recent study across 24 countries demonstrated that anti-vaccine attitudes were highest among those who were also high in conspiratorial thinking.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coronavirus, Vaccine hesitancy, COVID-19, Coronavirus insights
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology and Counselling
Depositing User: Rachel POVEY
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2021 14:06
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2022 10:37
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/7094

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