DOI: 10.1017/amj.2022.13">

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and (Mis)perception of Risk

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This Article tackles the critical problem of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and provides a normative framework for legal policies to address such hesitancy in the ongoing pandemic. The foundation of this Article rests in decision-making theories that allow policymakers to understand individual misperception of risk as compared to evidence-based assessment of risk. Vaccine-hesitant individuals assign a high risk to the COVID-19 vaccine and a low risk to the disease—a perception that is disconnected from the science. The backbone of this Article is the timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic and the underlying science of the disease and vaccines. The timeline provides a factual background to demonstrate how vaccine hesitancy to the COVID-19 vaccine emerged. The instant pandemic also demonstrates changes in how individuals see themselves in society, receive information, and are persuaded by economic forces. This Article combines the individual’s decision-making process with modern day variables to suggest interventions that can undo anti-vaccine damage. While the novelty of the normative framework provided herein is instructive for current COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy issues, this framework can be applied to other areas in which individual’s perceptions of risk are disconnected from evidence-based assessment of risk.


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