RWTH Seeks to Increase Vaccination Rates

24/11/2015

The German Research Foundation is providing 397,000 Euros in funding for a joint research project of RWTH Aachen and the University of Erfurt on the topic of “vaccine hesitancy,” a skepticism towards or even refusal of vaccines despite wide availability of vaccination services. The research project seeks to identify the underlying causes of vaccine hesitancy and propose measures to counteract this trend.

 

Researchers from various fields, including social and health psychology, behavioral economics, and theoretical physics, are working together in the interdisciplinary project under the direction of Professor Robert Böhm from the RWTH School of Business and Economics and PD Dr. Cornelia Betsch from the University of Erfurt.

The fight against infectious diseases with the help of vaccines is of significant societal concern. Vaccinations contribute to securing the health of individuals and society at large. However, the World Health Organization has identified Germany as a country that suffers from a high level of vaccination hesitancy. National and international health organizations are trying to find explanations for this phenomenon, which is particularly striking as the side effects of vaccinations are relatively minor compared to the threat posed by serious infections. A possible explanation is a distorted perception of risk regarding vaccinations. 

Immunization through vaccination is a strategically important measure to promote health and prevent disease. Against this background, the project seeks to identify measures to increase vaccine rates and thus improve the fight against infectious diseases. In the long run, guidelines for medical online offerings and information campaigns shall be developed.