How cognitive biases contribute to people refusing the flu vaccine

If someone receives the flu vaccine, there’s a better chance they’ll get through flu season without getting sick. But because the flu vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective, they might still end up infected despite the vaccine. To most observers, these two possible outcomes are “not equally salient,” write Frederick Chen and Ryan Stevens, two economists with an interest in vaccine refusal.

Source: How cognitive biases contribute to people refusing the flu vaccine

One other reason why people complain about the flu vaccine is that they don’t know what flu is. Influenza is a respiratory disease. It causes fever, coughing, sneezing, pneumonia. Flu doesn’t cause vomiting. If you’re vomiting, you don’t have flu. If you get the flu vaccine, and you end up with ” lotsa barfin'”, the flu vaccine didn’t fail, you got some other virus.

Why do people think that flu causes vomiting? For one thing, because of articles like this one, which is illustrated by an apparently-vomiting dog. So this article is actually helping drive some of the anti-flu-vaccine attitude, because the photo editor couldn’t be bothered to find an appropriate stock photo.

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