October 21, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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“Spiritual” people are more skeptical about the vaccine

“Spiritual” people are more skeptical about the vaccine

A study conducted in 24 countries shows that high levels of spirituality as well as low levels of scientific knowledge affect public opinion about the vaccine. Summary.


Nicholas BerubeNicholas Berube
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Vaccines vs. Spirituality

When a person calls themselves “spiritual,” they are more skeptical about the use of vaccines – a belief that “can pose a serious risk to public health,” according to a new study by more than 6,000 participants in 24 countries, published in the review Social Psychological and Personality Science. This link can be found in developed countries, as well as in developing countries. People who answered the series of science questions incorrectly – “Is an electron smaller than an atom?” For example – showed more doubts about vaccines and science in general.

“New Age” beliefs

Bastian Rutgens, an assistant professor at the Institute for Psychological Research at the University of Amsterdam and co-author of the study, says the face of vaccine-skeptical groups has changed over time. “In the Netherlands, for example, skeptics have historically come from Orthodox denominations, as have some Protestants,” he said in an interview. Today’s skeptics come from more diverse groups, but most members call beliefs and worldviews the so-called “new age” or influence through spirituality. ”

Different skepticism

Skepticism about science and vaccine is not a homogeneous block: different groups are skeptical about different things. “For example, in Egypt, Romania and Venezuela, scientific skepticism is much stronger than in Australia or Canada,” the authors note. However, “climate change skepticism is primarily associated with political ideology, but not with religious or spiritual beliefs”. This effect is most prevalent in the United States and Canada.

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Possible compensation?

How to increase confidence in science and vaccines among skeptics? The authors note that science teaches basic concepts well so that people can understand how science works. In the short term, Bastian Rutgens believes it is important to provide honest information and help reduce the impact of the vaccine on the immune system. “It does not help to persuade people or try against their beliefs. If someone is worried that vaccines are unnatural, it is better to try to get vaccinated, contrary to their views on the importance of the natural ones. World Vision. For example, the vaccination process is, in many ways, a natural process.”

Have you been vaccinated? Award!

A survey of more than 75,000 people in the United States by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that various incentives to vaccinate against COVID-19 could persuade people. For example, the vaccine is more likely to come if Republican defendants want to stop wearing the mask. Among Democrats, the most positive effect came from monetary rewards: 48% said they were more likely to get a shot if they received a $ 100 payment. This is what West Virginia is doing: the state issues a $ 100 bond for each person between the ages of 16 and 35 who has received two doses of the vaccine. In New Jersey, the breweries came up with the original idea, and cost less than $ 100: to give free beer to anyone who would prove that they were vaccinated in May by people 21 and over. Earlier this month, the Ohio governor announced that he was setting up a lottery with 1 million million for people who received an injection.

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Contact the study Science skepticism in 24 countries (In English)