Our colleagues Julie Chytilová and Michal Bauer and our alumni, Vojtěch Bartoš and Jana Cahlíková, are the co-authors of the study "Communicating doctors’ consensus persistently increases COVID-19 vaccinations", which was published in the most recent issue of Nature, a leading scientific journal.
Their empirical research documents that the vast majority of medical doctors in the Czech Republic trust and support vaccination, but that there is a widespread belief among the public that doctors’ opinions are divided and that only about half trust the vaccines. Informing people that there is a broad positive consensus among doctors persistently increases vaccination uptake by the public. Thus, effectively communicating doctors‘ true views can play an important role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The authors of the study conducted extensive questionnaire surveys to identify the medical community's views on vaccination against Covid-19, and then surveyed public perceptions of doctors' views. Finally, they examined the effect of providing information about doctors‘ actual views on individuals' decisions to get vaccinated. The phases and results of the study are described in detail in the article in Forum - Charles University Magazine.
"We found that clearly communicating the strong consensus of the benefits of vaccination among doctors is a cheap way to persistently increase interest in vaccination," summarizes Michal Bauer, as he adds: „the inaccurate public perceptions that experts are divided, despite the fact that a broad consensus in fact exists, is very likely relevant in a number of other areas, such as the climate change debate, and it may undermine the societal support required to solve fundamental national and global problems."
The lessons from this study thus very likely apply to a number of other issues, and the current pandemic is just one example of a more general phenomenon. At the same time, it is the first study by Czech scientists in the field of social sciences ever published in one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals (Nature). The publication is thus a truly significant achievement for the authors as well as for all the scientific institutions where the authors work - Institute of Economic Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences - Charles University, CERGE-EI, the University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute in Munich.
Photo: Vladimír Šigut, UK
Autor - Barbora Holková