Santa Fe Institute

Mandating vaccination could reduce voluntary compliance

7-Jun-2021 4:10 PM EDT, by Santa Fe Institute

Newswise — Citizen opposition to COVID-19 vaccination has emerged across the globe, prompting pushes for mandatory vaccination policies. But a new study based on evidence from Germany and on a model of the dynamic nature of people’s resistance to COVID-19 vaccination sounds an alarm: mandating vaccination could have a substantial negative impact on voluntary compliance.

Majorities in many countries now favor mandatory vaccination. In March, the government of Galicia in Spain made vaccinations mandatory for adults, subjecting violators to substantial fines. Italy has made vaccinations mandatory for care workers. The University of California and California State University systems announced in late April that vaccination would be required for anyone attending in the Fall.

The research, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), extends an earlier PNAS study by first author Katrin Schmelz, a psychologist and behavioral economist at the University of Konstanz, documenting that a major source of vaccine hesitancy is distrust of government. She found that enforced vaccinations reduce people’s desire to be vaccinated, particularly among those with low levels of trust in public institutions.

In the new study, Schmelz and economist Samuel Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute exploit a large panel survey implemented in Germany during the first and second waves of the pandemic. Despite infections in Germany being 15 times more common in the second wave of both the pandemic and the survey, the researchers observed increased opposition when they asked participants a hypothetical question about how they’d respond if vaccinations were to be legally required (the German government is publicly committed not to require vaccinations). In contrast, there was a higher and undiminished level of support for the voluntary vaccinations now in force. 

The authors also draw on evidence from the dynamics of diffusion of novel products and technologies such as TVs and washing machines in the last century. They reason that as those who are hesitant or opposed to vaccination see that others are getting vaccinated, they might change their mind. Learning from others’ vaccination decisions – “conformism” in psychology – means that even if initial vaccination hesitancy is substantial, as more become vaccinated it may be possible to get to a herd immunity target without mandating vaccines.

They also use experimental evidence from behavioral economics showing that explicit incentives, whether in the form of carrots or sticks, may crowd out intrinsic or ethical motives. Policies that aim to incentivize a desired behavior, such as getting vaccinated, can actually undercut individuals’ sense of a moral or ethical obligation to do the right thing. 

This is evident in their data. Mandating vaccinations by law directly reduces the desire to be vaccinated. Their model also suggests an adverse indirect effect: enforcement will reduce the extent to which others being vaccinated will induce vaccine hesitators to become willing, as this carries a weaker signal. Schmelz says “How people feel about getting vaccinated will be affected by enforcement in two ways — it could crowd out pro-vaccine feelings, and reduce the positive effect of conformism if vaccination is voluntary.”

Bowles says this should be a caution to governments considering mandated policies: “Costly errors may be avoided if policymakers reflect carefully on the costs of enforcement. These could not only increase opposition to vaccination, but also heighten social conflict by further alienating citizens from the government or scientific and medical elites,” he says. Nonetheless, he says government enforcement “may still be necessary if the number wishing to be vaccinated is insufficient to control the pandemic.”

Schmelz concludes that “Our findings have broad policy applicability beyond COVID-19. There are many cases in which voluntary citizen compliance to a policy is essential because state enforcement capacities are limited, and because results may depend on the ways that the policies themselves alter citizens’ beliefs and preferences,” adding that “… examples include policies to promote lifestyle changes to reduce carbon footprints or to sustain tolerance and mutual respect in a heterogeneous society.”

 

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY



Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5872
Released: 24-Jun-2021 4:55 PM EDT
Virus that causes COVID-19 can find alternate route to infect cells
Washington University in St. Louis

The virus that causes COVID-19 normally gets inside cells by attaching to a protein called ACE2. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a single mutation confers the ability to enter cells through another route, which may threaten the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics designed to block the standard route of entry.

Newswise: Is it a Virus or Bacteria? New Tech Rapidly Tests for COVID-19 and More
Released: 24-Jun-2021 3:05 PM EDT
Is it a Virus or Bacteria? New Tech Rapidly Tests for COVID-19 and More
Homeland Security's Science And Technology Directorate

S&T is preparing for future outbreaks/pandemics by investing in a new tech that can quickly discriminate between bacterial and viral infections so that the U.S. can triage patients and plan a response without delay.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 12:30 PM EDT
A tecnologia de IA e ECG pode descartar rapidamente a infecção por COVID-19, concluiu o estudo da Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic

A inteligência artificial (IA) pode oferecer uma maneira de determinar com precisão se uma pessoa não está infectada com a COVID-19. Um estudo retrospectivo internacional descobriu que a infecção pelo SARS-CoV-2, o vírus que causa a COVID-19, cria mudanças elétricas sutis no coração. Um eletrocardiograma (ECG) habilitado com IA pode detectar essas alterações e, potencialmente, ser usado como um teste de triagem rápido e confiável para descartar a infecção por COVID-19.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 12:10 PM EDT
妙佑医疗国际(Mayo Clinic)的研究发现,AI赋能的心电图技术有可能迅速排除COVID-19感染
Mayo Clinic

AI (人工智能)有可能提供准确判断一个人未感染COVID-19(2019冠状病毒病)的方法。一项国际回顾性研究发现,如果感染了导致COVID-19的SARS-CoV-2病毒,患者的心脏会产生微妙的电学变化。AI赋能的心电图(EKG)可以检测到这些变化,并有望被用于进行快速、可靠的COVID-19筛查检测,以排除COVID-19感染。

Newswise: 200421_Felgner_3205_sz-2-768x496.jpg
Released: 24-Jun-2021 11:50 AM EDT
UCI Professor Wins Spain’s Prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for Scientific Research
University of California, Irvine

Irvine, Calif., June 24, 2021 — Philip Felgner, Ph.D., professor in residence of physiology & biophysics at the University of California, Irvine, is one of seven scholars worldwide to win Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research in recognition of their contributions to designing COVID-19 vaccines.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT
New protein engineering method could accelerate the discovery of COVID-19 therapeutics
University of Michigan

Discovering and engineering nanobodies with properties suitable for treating human diseases ranging from cancer to COVID-19 is a time-consuming, laborious process.

Newswise: Decoding humans’ survival from coronaviruses
Released: 24-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT
Decoding humans’ survival from coronaviruses
University of Adelaide

An international team of researchers co-led by the University of Adelaide and the University of Arizona has analysed the genomes of more than 2,500 modern humans from 26 worldwide populations, to better understand how humans have adapted to historical coronavirus outbreaks.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 29-Jun-2021 4:00 PM EDT Released to reporters: 24-Jun-2021 10:35 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 29-Jun-2021 4:00 PM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise: COVIDLockdownSimulations.jpg
Released: 24-Jun-2021 10:00 AM EDT
Pandemic Air Quality Affected By Weather, Not Just Lockdowns
Washington University in St. Louis

Using a diverse set of tools, the lab of Randall Martin shows how the pandemic did – or didn’t – affect levels of particulate matter during COVID lockdowns.

Released: 24-Jun-2021 6:05 AM EDT
Longest known SARS-CoV-2 infection of nearly 300 days successfully treated with new therapy
University of Bristol

An immunocompromised individual with the longest known PCR confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 infection, lasting more than 290 days, has been successfully treated with two investigational monoclonal antibodies (laboratory engineered antibodies). Clinicians and researchers from the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) worked closely to assess and treat the infection and want to highlight the urgent need for improved access to treatments for such people with persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Showing results

110 of 5872

close
2.75343