A recently published study by a team of Irish researchers found that vaccination status was an important determinant of people’s attitudes towards those suffering from Covid-19.

Researchers include Marius Claudy and Suhas Vijayakumar from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and Norah Campbell from Trinity Business School.

“The findings indicate not only that unvaccinated individuals face potential health threats from Covid-19, but also the risk of social exclusion by the majority of the vaccinated population. It emphasizes that there is a

“This study shows that when people get sick, they are much less likely to sympathize with unvaccinated individuals and are less likely to help them and their families. If you unknowingly pass the virus on to others, people will get very angry when they learn that the “spreader” was not vaccinated and call for harsher punishment. ”

the study

The study, recently published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, surveyed 1,200 participants (the general public, not medical professionals) in the United States and compared Covid-19 patients with critical vaccination status and We investigated how to determine willingness to support the family. The (unconscious) desire to punish a person for infecting another person with the virus.

The study found that vaccinated individuals were more likely to be responsible and responsible for falling ill to unvaccinated Covid-19 patients.

Similarly, vaccinated people may feel angry at unvaccinated people who may have passed Covid-19 to others.

From a public and health policy perspective, Professor Claudy believes that the study shows that unvaccinated people are more susceptible to prevention, including social exclusion and isolation, which are associated with other illnesses such as depression and anxiety. He explained that it became clear that negative attitudes and behaviors from the inoculated population had to be addressed.

“From the perspective of the unvaccinated, it is likely that other people will blame themselves for their unhappiness when they become ill, which can lead to real-world social consequences. It’s important to understand one thing,” Professor Claudy explained.

Associate Professor Marius Claudy, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business. Photo: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

“For example, in a recent article in The Atlantic, they reported that healthcare workers suffered from ‘compassion fatigue’ regarding unvaccinated patients. Mainly because they believe these people don’t need to be hospitalized, often the last thing a patient said before being transferred to her ICU was wishing they had been vaccinated. That’s what it means. This has caused frustration among medical professionals. ”

Prof Claudy said that those who have not been vaccinated may already be severely restricted in their lifestyles and will also have to deal with the social ramifications from the vaccinated majority. I am pointing out.

Social isolation can also lead to difficulties. “They may not be allowed to travel or enter certain facilities, and may even be isolated by friends and family. This can have negative mental health effects such as depression.”

‘blame game’

“We know that when people are condemned or judged, they can resist it,” he said.

“Psychological reactance can reinforce their belief that they are doing the right thing. can be strengthened.”

“This study highlights a social phenomenon and provides an explanation for the social dynamics between vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals,” explained Professor Claudy.

“We have unambiguous evidence that Covd-19 vaccination significantly reduces infection, hospitalization, and mortality (e.g., Haas et al., 2021; Polack et al., 2020). He points out that, thanks to this overwhelming evidence, “severe illness and death associated with Covid-19 are now widely seen as controllable, if unavoidable consequences.” That’s why vaccinated people believe that unvaccinated people bear greater personal responsibility when they get sick or infect others.

Here comes the problem related to psychological reactance. “When their freedom to smoke was threatened, some started smoking more. The same thing happens with gun rights in the United States. , further strengthens the motivation to defend the right to bear arms.”

Professor Claudy believes the “blame game” will only anger these two positions, but knowing about these socio-psychological mechanisms can help us find different ways to promote vaccination. I think


“From the vaccinated person’s perspective, it is important to understand that unvaccinated people are more likely to experience negative attitudes and even hostile behavior. It could exacerbate things, such as the denial of public opinion and increased polarization.”

While the findings may not seem surprising, “there are lessons to be learned from them.”

“We need to think of other ways to reach out to the unvaccinated and convince them to get vaccinated. Blame wars will only lead to greater polarization. A negative approach can result in people becoming more stubborn.”

The authors note that this may require further research.

“Maybe we need to do more research on why people don’t get vaccinated. Simple fear. Others may subscribe to conspiracy theories spread by communities against vaccination.

“If you are in that frame of mind and find society hostile to you, or even friends and relatives who exclude you, you can go even deeper into that rabbit hole. It could be a case of them turning against the world. We need to find a better way: addressing people’s motivations not to get vaccinated.”

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