Gates Foundation Invests in Research To Curb Vaccine Hesitancy

Researchers funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation published a study analyzing ways to persuade people to take COVID-19 and HIV vaccines.

Published in August, the study is entitled, “Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy for Future COVID-19 and HIV Vaccines: Lessons from Measles and HPV Vaccines.”

The study discusses challenges posed in the past when the government tried to administer measles and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, in the hopes of more effectively persuading the public to take COVID-19 and HIV vaccines in the future.

Researchers highlighted that the most successful approaches are “context specific,” and concluded that the best strategies “directly target the population,” with financial incentives being particularly effective in improving vaccine uptake.

“Message framing is a powerful tool for vaccine promotion; however, messages should be carefully framed and should be targeted to the population of interest,” wrote the researchers. “Financial incentives, free-of-charge vaccines, and use of vaccine champions should be considered in future vaccine promotions as they were successful in increasing both measles and HPV vaccine coverage rates.”

Critics of the study point out that there have been a string of reports linking the COVID-19 vaccine to myocarditis, a condition causing inflammation of the heart muscle. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, heart failure, and sometimes death.

While not openly acknowledging the link between COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis, the American Heart Association did issue a report admitting that research is “less certain” on the risks of myocarditis in younger demographics.

Studies show that young men are particularly at risk.

“In men younger than 40 years old, the number of excess myocarditis events per million people was higher after a second dose of mRNA-1273 than after a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (97 [95% CI, 91–99] versus 16 [95% CI, 12–18]),” the study found.

Women in the study experienced a similar number of excess myocarditis events after the second dose.

Bill Gates has actively lobbied in the media to end vaccine hesitancy, appearing on a number of programs over the last few years to advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine.