Political views and a person’s trust in the government play a role in whether or not they get vaccinated, a study has found.
A person’s ideology directly impacts who they trust, allowing the person to selectively credit information related to vaccine risks and benefits in ways that reflect their ideology, said researchers at the University of Idaho in the US.
An individual with strong conservative political views is less likely to vaccinate than a person with strong liberal political views, according to the study, as is someone who holds lower levels of trust in government medical experts.
“Decisions about vaccination are based on more than mere knowledge of risks, costs and benefits,” the researchers said.
The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggest that awareness campaigns will have limited success when targeting individuals who have limited trust in vaccines. Public health strategies have long focused on increasing knowledge and awareness based on a “knowledge-deficit” approach to vaccination, but the researchers found a person’s ideology has a direct effect on a decision to get a specific shot.
“It’s a question of how do we as a society have coverage against diseases and what role do doctors and government health professionals play in that,” said Juliet Carlisle, from the University of Idaho.
The researchers also found that ideology has a strong and statistically significant effect on trust in government medical experts as a whole. However, a person’s political worldview does not seem to influence the extent to which they trust their family’s primary health care provider.