Word choice matters when communicating about COVID-19 vaccines

Using the word "shot" could be ineffective in communication meant to encourage patients to receive COVID-19 vaccines, according to survey results released Jan. 14 by health insurer EmblemHealth.

The insurer surveyed nearly 1,000 American adults in December, with a high concentration in the New York City's tristate area.

Survey respondents indicated the word "shot" carries a negative connotation, often associating the word with risk, being scared or a lack of safety.

The survey also found that "vaccination" and "immunization" should not be used interchangeably, as they have different meanings. Generally, respondents understood that "immunization" refers to protection from a disease or virus and "vaccination" refers to the process that produces said immunity.

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