University of Twente Student Theses


Regretting Vaccine Indecision: Solving Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Through Anticipated Regret-Nudging

Giampaolo, N. (2021) Regretting Vaccine Indecision: Solving Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Through Anticipated Regret-Nudging.

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Abstract:Objective: Young adults represent the segment of the population with the lowest willingness to get vaccinated in the Netherlands, hence compromising the achievement of herd immunity for Covid-19. The present research, thus, considers a possible vaccination strategy to stimulate vaccination’s intentions among youngsters. In this research, an anticipated regret-nudge prods youngsters to consider the possible consequences of not getting the shot. The thesis evaluates the anticipated regret-nudge with respect to its efficacy and ethical permissibility. It also discusses the importance of institutional and medical trust for the correct development of a vaccine campaign. Method: An online survey was conducted to assess the effect of the anticipated regret-nudge on vaccine intentions from the 14th of June until the 22nd of June 2021. The final sample counted 171 Dutch participants aged between 18 and 30. For the ethical analysis, a methodology based on conceptual analysis and reflective equilibrium was used to assess the ethical permissibility of regret-nudges. Results: The results showed no significant difference between the control condition and the regret condition on vaccine intentions. The age and condition of the caretakers did not moderate the willingness to get the vaccine. However, both institutional and medical trust moderated the relationship between the vaccination message and the intention to get vaccinated. The regret message did not significantly impact the trust in the vaccine campaign, and it was found that the acceptability of the message explained the relationship between the message and the trust in the vaccine campaign. The outcome of the ethical analysis is that regret-nudges do not constitute an instance of manipulation nor coerciveness, though they constitute a form of emotional paternalism which can be morally justified since anticipated emotions enable autonomous decisions based on future thinking. Conclusions: This research shows that an anticipated regret-nudge might not be enough to stimulate vaccine intention in young adults. On the other hand, the research pointed out the importance of different dimensions of government trust in the success of the vaccine campaign. Finally, the research shows the importance of evaluating the moral permissibility of a vaccine strategy also on its capacity not to deteriorate institutional trust.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:08 philosophy, 70 social sciences in general, 77 psychology, 88 social and public administration, 89 political science
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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