Author: Barbara Gormley – Dublin City University, Ireland
The facilitation of media communication is a fundamental necessity during any risk situation, such as a pandemic, as public health agencies rely on news media to relay accurate and important health messages for the containment and control of the disease, and assurances on possible outcomes. Public interest and demand for accurate information during risk situations acutely increases as people necessitate clear and timely answers to important and often complex questions from expert sources, in order to confine immediate fears and acquire instruction.During public health emergencies, communications strategies are established and implemented to safeguard the population from existing or potential threats. Current research indicates that no policy for vaccine distribution is likely to succeed until public fears are addressed. Further, developing a robust public health communication system, that accurately conveys health information, contributes to crisis alleviation created through this fear. These ‘crisis’ being vaccine shortages and the associated risks of taking the vaccine itself. Studies cite public reluctance to comply with vaccination programmes as stemming from many issues. Media reports linking the MMR vaccine and autism that had no foundation in subsequent scientific research resulted in a low compliance in the US. The perceived health risk was considered higher than obtaining the vaccine for the preventable illnesses. Many anti-vaccination advocacy groups have utilised this balance as a reason to negate vaccination. The success of vaccine programmes is another reason cited for low compliance as individuals do not consider the risk of an illness until they contract it themselves. Pre-pandemic preparedness, effective risk communication, and media cooperation are all fundamentals of effective public health authority vaccine compliance strategies.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.
Presentation type: Individual paper
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices