Beyond the Infodemic: Countering Vaccine Misconceptions and Fear. Evidence-Based Communication Post-Pandemic
Author(s): Matteo Maria Cati
Vaccine hesitancy rooted in misinformation and fear appeals remains a public health threat despite the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper presents innovative methodologies for developing targeted communication campaigns to increase vaccine acceptance among reluctant populations. Employing a multi-method approach involving surveys, focus groups, and integrated analysis within simulated frameworks, we mapped distinct audience segments’ informational needs and credibility assessments. Our findings reveal specific messaging strategies resonating with particular ideological and demographic subgroups. Additionally, we identify trusted messengers that can effectively relay vaccine information to address emotional barriers. Based on these insights, we propose audience- tailored promotion efforts centered on a “Vaccine Persuasion Index” tracking linguistic personalization, emotional resonance, and qualitative credibility appraisals. This evidence-based approach underscores the necessity of moving beyond “one-size-fits-all” health communication toward responsibly customized outreach that confronts prevailing doubts and misconceptions around vaccination. Our research aims to inform policy and practice in achieving community immunity by overcoming vaccine hesitancy through targeted education and advocacy.