Ann Christiano and Jack Barry Comment on How to Encourage Employees to Get Vaccines
Ann Christiano, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Center for Public Interest Communications director, and Jack Barry, a post-doctoral research associate for the Center, were quoted in “How to Talk to Employees About Vaccines” published on the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) website on April 13.
Christiano and Barry were participants in a webinar about Employer COVID-10 Vaccine Communications: Do’s and Don’ts. The event was part of the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s This is Our Shot project to encourage workers to be vaccinated.
The Center is working with the Manufacturing Institute to create a strategy for U.S. manufacturers to identify specific frames and sample messages that will help answer the questions and concerns that their workers harbor.
“The vaccines are becoming widely available and so people are really at a point where they no longer have to wait. It’s time,” said Christiano. “But as employers, you have a great deal of influence and trust with your employees and are well positioned to help build their trust and encourage them to get those vaccines.”
According to Christiano and Barry, there are eight factors to think about when developing vaccine communications: worldviews, timing, messengers, narratives, relationships, social norms, emotions and motivations. They recommend taking people as they are—and responding to their particular identities and values.
They stress that the timing and the messengers are very important. Workplace “influencers” that are trusted and respected should be used to convey how important it is to be vaccinated.
They add, “Don’t amplify people’s concerns and avoid appeals to unpleasant emotions like shame and fear, the researchers advise. Consider instead using pleasant emotions like pride, joy and parental love. Consider the motivations of the messenger, too. Be transparent and honest about why you want people to get vaccinated.”
The Center in November published a “Guide to COVID-19 vaccine communications: a practitioner’s guide to the principles of COVID-19 vaccine communications” for the United Nations Verified initiative, which served as basis for the NAM project.