This is important now as communities push to get their populations vaccinated. Reliable information can be the key to fighting vaccine hesitancy. There are a number of reasons someone might be cautious of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some people don’t know enough about it, others are afraid of unpleasant side effects, some have religious beliefs that prevent them from vaccinating, and still others believe the vaccines are actually injecting tiny microchips in people to track them.
How do they get started? Well, let’s leave that for another time. Instead, let’s look at why someone believes misinformation fact.
Trusted government health agencies assure us that the vaccines are safe and effective. We are promised that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any risks or side effects.
But what if you didn’t know where to find reliable information? Or, what if you couldn’t understand the information being communicated? There seems to be a dual set of issues pushing vaccine misconception and hesitancy—a lack of health literacy combined with a lack of media literacy—which are more likely to affect adults with low literacy skills.
The answer therefore must also be twofold—continue teaching basic literacy, numeracy, and digital skills so learners can better understand and comprehend health care information, but also spend time helping learners build media literacy skills. You could even do so in the context of true and false information about the COVID-19 vaccine—because every person who is vaccinated brings all of us closer to a life free from the daily threats of COVID-19.