Vaccinating across the aisle: using co-partisan source cues to encourage COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the ideological right

J Behav Med. 2023 Apr;46(1-2):311-323. doi: 10.1007/s10865-022-00323-4. Epub 2022 May 11.

Abstract

Overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States will require most Americans to vaccinate against the disease. However, considerable research suggests that a significant proportion of Americans intend to forego vaccination, putting pandemic recovery at risk. Republicans are one of the largest groups of COVID-19 vaccine hesitant individuals. Therefore, identifying strategies to reduce vaccine hesitancy within this group is vital to ending the pandemic. In this study, we investigate the effectiveness of messages from co-partisan sources in reducing vaccine hesitancy. In a large (N = 3000) and demographically representative survey, we find that exposing "Middle-of-the-Road" partisans to pro-vaccine messages from co-partisan source cues reduces vaccine hesitancy. However, for those who identify as "Strong" or "Weak" partisans, we find no statistically significant differences in vaccination intentions when exposed to pro-vaccine messages from co-partisan sources. We conclude by discussing how our findings are helpful for vaccine communication efforts.

Keywords: COVID-19; COVID-19 vaccine; Health communication; Public health; Public opinion; Vaccine hesitancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Communication
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Vaccination

Substances

  • COVID-19 Vaccines