Canadians say the feds' vaccination messaging was 'too bossy,' new study finds

Canadians perceived messaging ‘to get vaccinated’ for COVID-19 as ‘too authoritative’: Focus groups

Canadians say the feds' vaccination messaging was 'too bossy,' new study finds
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Focus groups were conducted by the Quorus Consulting Group Inc. to determine what Canadians think of Health Canada’s mass vaccination campaign.

A lot of negative reactions were reported. 

Through the 45 focus groups conducted from March 15, 2021, to July 28, 2022, participants declared the tagline “get vaccinated” was “too authoritative,” amongst many other sentiments. Health Canada wrote, “the main weakness in the concept was the part of the tagline in both storyboards that reads ‘Get vaccinated’ as many participants believe that getting vaccinated remains a choice and that they are not receptive to any messaging that is telling them what to do.”

Participants, reacting to the federal government’s directives to “get vaccinated,” said they were concerned about them being too “bossy” and “authoritative.”

Quorus presented participants with different methods conveying the directive to get vaccinated. Amongst the methods one can find videos and different types of advertisements. 

Researchers explained participants’ reactions to an ad telling them to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “A concern raised by a few participants was that the ad seemed unrealistic because it seemed to suggest that if children get vaccinated, they can immediately start socializing, which to them seemed to contradict suggestions by public health authorities,” they said.

Quorus explained, in the research results of the first phase of the study, that “participants also disliked being told to get vaccinated.”

Some participants reportedly reacted strongly to an ad instructing children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as “threatening.” 

“Alternatively, some participants perceived the ad as threatening, thinking that it was suggesting children would not be able to return to fall activities if they did not get vaccinated,” the study reported. 

“As well, a few felt that it played on guilt rather than factual information by leaving the viewer feeling like they are bad parents if they choose not to vaccinate their children.”

The survey cost Health Canada $233,291.96 to complete.

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