Atlantic writer discusses strategies to combat vaccine hesitancy

Derek Thompson, a staff writer at The Atlantic, discussed on Thursday strategies to combat different types of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy as the U.S. pursues herd immunity with its vaccination effort. 

Thompson in an interview on Hill.TV’s “Rising” said the media “has done a terrible job at explaining the costs and benefits” of vaccines by printing headlines about people dying after getting the vaccine even though their death didn’t have to do with the shot, and not doing more to highlight the vaccine’s effectiveness against severe illness. 

For racial minority populations who may be distrustful of the vaccine and health care system overall, he recommended a motivational interviewing approach, in which experts and officials ask people what they want for their life in the next few years and explain how the vaccine can help them achieve their goals. 

“It’s kind of like anti-persuasion, rather than push ideas on people, you allow them to give their own reasons and attach your arguments to them,” he said.  

He concluded by saying there is a “very, very strong argument for highly regulating” misinformation and disinformation online “during a pandemic.”