Sir, – Orla Muldoon’s article on emerging vaccine hesitancy and scepticism is timely (“Vaccine hesitancy brewing up to be big problem”, Opinion & Analysis, May 11th).
Clearly, the approach to public communication and motivation needs to be urgently rethought, especially as the vaccine programme widens to younger age cohorts. A new campaign needs to be well-prepared and highly professional.
With this in mind, the quality and effectiveness of the Government’s current public service campaign – most particularly the well-meaning announcements repeated several times a day on radio – do not inspire confidence. In these the public is exhorted, as the country reopens, to continue to comply with the remaining restrictions. What we hear is a sincere-sounding pitch along the lines of “all working together”, but the effect is that of a primary school teacher addressing her class. The sincerity ends up just sounding patronising. Surely it must be understood that an adult public does not respond well to that.
There is little time left to forestall a serious problem arising with significant numbers declining vaccination. The Government therefore needs to move very quickly and mobilise the expertise of public relations and advertising professionals. – Yours, etc,