Education, School, and Behaviour Faculty of Philosophy

Reducing Negative Effects of Communicating Vaccine Safety Events - Knowledge Transfer Project SAFECOMM

This knowledge transfer project builds on the results of our two DFG-projects, which have shown that narrative reports of vaccine-adverse events have a strong distorting effect on the perception of vaccination risks and the vaccination intention.

Duration
02/2017 - 01/2020

Funding
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) :
215 000 Euro

Project management

Prof. Dr. Cornelia Betsch
Professorship for Health Communication (DFG Heisenberg-Professur Gesundheitskommunikation) (Faculty of Philosophy)
Dr. Frank Renkewitz
Akademischer Rat at the professorship for Social, Organizational and Business Psychology (Sozial-, Organisations- und Wirtschaftspsychologie) (Faculty of Education)

This knowledge transfer project builds on the results of two DFG-projects from Betsch & Renkewitz , which have shown that narrative reports of vaccine-adverse events have a strong distorting effect on the perception of vaccination risks and the vaccination intention. The application partner is the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute (PEI). The PEI is a German federal authority, which collects suspected cases of vaccine-adverse events. The cases are published in a database on the PEI website. Suspected case means that the causal relationship between the pharmaceutical substance (e.g. vaccines) and symptom-onset is unknown. This type of information is used to detect early risk signals of the medicinal product (vaccine). In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the suspected cases are made publicly available in an anonymous form. Internet users indeed visit the database as a source of information. Hence, the challenge is to design the database in a way that supports the perception of the cases as suspected cases, and not as actual cases, so that they can be appropriately included in the evaluation of vaccines and do not bias the perception of vaccines. Vaccines are particularly in the focus of public interest. They are administered to healthy people and, in many cases, the respective vaccine-preventable diseases have disappeared from peoples consciousness due to high vaccination coverage. Potential side effects of vaccines therefore receive high attention. This imbalance leads to a failure of reaching high enough vaccination rates, which are needed to eradicate diseases. Furthermore, it always comes back to vaccine-preventable diseases outbreaks. Vaccine-hesitancy movements in the population reinforce this phenomenon. Against this background, optimization of the PEI side-effect database in the aforementioned sense is to be regarded as a matter of urgency.

Health Research