PROVO (ABC4 News) – Researchers at BYU have published research claiming they were able to successfully change a person’s perceptions about vaccines through time and personal interviews.
Dr. Brian Poole is the lead researcher on the study; he explained, “If you try to combat the myths about vaccines and tell people they are safe, people tend to dig in and get entrenched.”
Their study used college students who identified as vaccine-hesitant and tried a couple of ways to change their minds.
First, he said, “We just had the students take my class, we didn’t think that would change much but it did, it was nice that my class actually did something.”
Then they split the class into two groups and had one group interview a person who suffered from a vaccine-preventable disease.
Poole said, “About 70 percent of the people who interviewed a person with a vaccine-preventable disease changed their attitudes, that was pretty dramatic and it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be.”
He says this finding means the scientific community needs to change their tactics, “We need to take much more responsibility than we have.”
Poole gave the example of anti-smoking campaigns where the speaker had a tracheotomy, which were largely successful.
He said, “We’re scientists, we prefer being in the lab and prefer cells to people sometimes, so it’s hard to get out and tell a good compelling and convincing story but if we believe in what we’re doing we have to be willing to tell that story.”
Find Dr. Poole’s full study here.