W.ow do you get people to vaccinate? A society committed to the European Enlightenment would rely on the power of the informed argument. And hope that the knowledge will lead to appropriate behavior. So if it has been proven that (currently) a triple vaccination protects against infection quite well, then everything speaks in favor of going to the nearest vaccination center immediately. In a cost-benefit comparison, concern about side effects is, if not negligible, at least very low.
That is the individual benefit calculation. The vaccination is also ethically advisable for altruistic reasons, because it gives the virus fewer and fewer opportunities to pursue its contagious business model. When a sufficient number of people are vaccinated, life can start again. Accordingly, the federal government, Robert Koch Institute & Co. rely on education. Little is happening, they say: We just have to provide better and more thorough information.
Too bad that the world doesn’t function according to this rational information-behavior mechanism. Two medics at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston have just shown that again. In a study they evaluated data from 750,000 children who should be protected against cervical cancer with a vaccination. The vaccine has been around since 2006. It is strongly recommended by doctors, but (comparable to the Covid vaccine) meets with massive opposition, for example from conservative-religious parents who want to misunderstand the vaccination of their children as an invitation to premarital sex.
Even experiencing the disease does not increase the vaccination rate
Doctors now wanted to know whether daughters of unvaccinated mothers who had cancer are more likely to be vaccinated (or if their mothers have sent them to be vaccinated). It is assumed that the sick women would have been better informed about the serious illness. And the daughters, who know the suffering of their mothers, would have to do everything to protect themselves from such a fate – by vaccination. However, the results of the study are sobering: the children of the mothers infected with the virus did not show a higher propensity to vaccinate than the “uninformed” girls. Experiencing the disease in one’s own family therefore does not contribute to increasing the vaccination rate. This can be transferred to the resistance of those who are not vaccinated in the current pandemic: Family members of hospitalized relatives often oppose a vaccination, although they have experienced the misery that Covid disease can bring with it.
The two MGH doctors give examples of doctors who vaccinate against chickenpox in their practices, but cannot (or do not want to) convince their own children of the need for this vaccination. Axel Ockenfels, an economist at the University of Cologne and my informant on behavioral research, draws my attention to another study which suggests that doctors as patients, at best, do slightly better than patients without medical expertise when it comes to complying with medical guidelines. The usefulness of medical knowledge in making better health decisions is therefore very limited. It is also well known that the fact that we do not exercise enough, do not take medication as prescribed, do not make enough provision for old age and allow ourselves to be distracted by mobile phones while driving, says Ockenfels, is not because we do not know how much all this goes against our interests.
#Hanks #Welt #alternative #compulsory #vaccination