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AAP-commissioned research outlines how to shape public attitudes about vaccines

March 1, 2023

A two-year research initiative on effective vaccine messaging commissioned by the Academy has yielded new recommendations on the most effective framing strategies to use when talking about vaccines with large audiences — whether that’s media interviews, social media platforms or other venues.

The research was conducted by the FrameWorks Institute, a think tank that uses rigorous social science methods to unveil the mindsets and assumptions people have on numerous issues and make recommendations on how to talk about them.

In its final report (, FrameWorks recommends five framing strategies to help shift public thinking broadly and build support for policies that will increase access to vaccination for all children and adolescents:

  • Talk about the benefits of vaccination for the common good.
  • Talk about improving vaccination access as a preventive public health measure.
  • Focus on how vaccines are beneficial to children’s long-term health and well-being.
  • Use a computer updates metaphor to explain how vaccination improves the immune system’s performance.
  • Use a literacy metaphor to explain how the immune system learns to respond to diseases through vaccination.

The report includes examples of messages and a detailed explanation of the research methods used to arrive at the recommendations.

In a letter announcing the report to AAP members, AAP President Sandy L. Chung, M.D., FAAP, noted that a large body of research also exists to inform the communications strategies pediatricians can use when talking about vaccines with parents one-on-one in their practices, including making a strong recommendation and using motivational interviewing techniques.

“Those are effective and important in the clinical setting,” Dr. Chung said. “This additional research shows that slightly different framing strategies will be effective when we’re addressing large audiences. These conversations in the ‘public square’ —  whether that’s in virtual or in-person spaces — ultimately will help us shape public attitudes about vaccines and their benefits.”


  • To read the Frameworks’ report “Reframing the Conversation about Child and Adolescent Vaccinations,” visit
  • To view a recorded presentation by FrameWorks Senior Advisor Julie Sweetland, Ph.D., regarding the new research, visit
  • For more information about FrameWorks’ recommendations, visit
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