April 11th, 2021

Poll: Will This Video Change Anyone’s Mind About Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Watch this video. It’s a minute long:

I first heard about the video because, as mentioned before, I play in a regular poker game with a group of smart friends. Naturally, the in-person game, which started sometime in the early days of the 21th century, has been on hold since March of last year. One can barely imagine any activity more efficient for respiratory virus transmission than a bunch of people clustered around a small table, playing cards, chatting, eating snacks, and consuming beverages.

But we still play online, which one of our players estimates is approximately 64.7% as fun as the face-to-face game. So it’s quite appropriate that the video was sent around to all of us this past week after one of our online games. It came from Mo, a skillful player whose name sounds like it’s right out of a movie based on a tricky poker hustle.

I don’t think he expected this response from Mark (another poker expert) or me (a relative hack):

Mark:  Just a big tech conspiracy.
Me:  I can feel the microchip right under my biceps muscle.
Mo:  Such cynics! Of course advertising by definition is supposed to manipulate you. But what’s wrong with being made to feel good about something good?

I agree this video is brilliant advertising and did make me feel good. It’s downright wonderful. The stark simplicity (always an enticing strength of a Google search), the music, the sound effects, the use of different languages, and, most importantly, the broad range of activities put on hold now possible again with vaccination — they all work together to convey a powerful and moving message.

No wonder some of the YouTube commenters wrote that they cried while watching it.

But will it convince anyone to get the vaccine who is otherwise not doing so?

Not so sure about that, but suspect not many. Why?

Our vaccine-eligible population, at least here in the United States, falls into various groups:

National Library of Congress

1. Most want the vaccine. They can’t wait. They signed up the very first day they were eligible. Or drove long distances to find a pharmacy that had extra shots. They watched the vaccine criteria in their states closely, hoping they and their loved ones would be candidates. Before then, they dropped in at end of the day at vaccination sites, eager for leftovers. When finally getting the vaccine, they were overwhelmed with emotion, gratitude, and relief. Maybe they took a vaccine selfie. Then they helped others navigate the process.

In short, this group loves this one-minute video. (So did all the poker players, for the record — including Mark.)

2. Some are on the fence because of a medical reason. They worry the vaccines are too new. That they might make their underlying autoimmune disease worse. Or they have a history of terrifying, life-threatening allergies to medications and maybe even vaccines. Or they are pregnant, or planning pregnancy. Or they had a rare, very severe side effect in the past to another vaccine, and worry these will do the same.

(All us ID doctors have been asked about people with Guillain-Barre syndrome after a flu shot and whether they can safely receive a COVID-19 vaccine. We say it’s safe — at least as far as we know.)

These are all legitimate concerns, for which there are no easy answers. People in this group might find the video well done, but it’s unlikely to alter their decision-making.

3. Some won’t get the vaccine since they come from marginalized groups. They might know about how the medical community excluded them from research in the past. Or conducted unethical studies. Or treated them poorly in a clinical context, so they inherently distrust our messages. Or they don’t speak English, and no culturally appropriate vaccine information is available. Or they have limited access to regular medical care.

I suspect this group won’t even see this video — where is it being distributed? — or if they do, they will distrust it.

4. Some await herd immunity, so they believe if they wait long enough, they won’t need to get the vaccine — ever. They are analogous to the parents who seek out “non-medical exemptions” for their children so that their kids won’t have to get the recommended childhood immunizations.

This group — particularly selfish, I should add — will watch this video and hope that it will convince others to get the shots.

5. Some are anti-vaxxers, or conspiracy theorists, or political extremists, or some combination of these factors. They will see in this video various hidden messages proving that the vaccines allow 5G mobile networks to take over their brainwaves.

I look at these five groups, and wonder — is this video going to sway anyone from Groups 2-5?

Will it, as cleverly put by Tom — another poker mate — “move the needle?”

What do you think? And why?

Will the Google video convince a significant number of people to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

View Results

26 Responses to “Poll: Will This Video Change Anyone’s Mind About Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine?”

  1. Al says:

    It’s an advert for google isn’t it?

  2. ALLEN J ROVNER, M.D. says:

    There will always be an irreducible number of people who won’t be convinced to get a vaccine. My vote for “yes” is the “what’s in it for me?” approach which can overcome hesitancy or rejection of an idea. If this video appears as a clickable option every time you do a Google search, it just might “move the needle” enough to achieve herd immunity.

  3. Lynn Beattie says:

    A video that would work would show the poor souls hooked up to respirators. It would show the poor souls who couldn’t breathe before they were hooked up to a respirator and then maybe show the poor souls who were lucky enough to get off a respirator but suffer various health indignities. We constantly move the populace needle with fear and intimidation. Now when it really can work and make a difference, we don’t?

    • chase says:

      Agree.News media has failed to connect being noncompilant or unvaccinated with the burden of covid illness(in and out of the icu), especially in college-age adults.
      Most young adults continue to believe that M&M is limited to their grandparents!

  4. Bernhard Lämmle says:

    Excellent video, the fundamentalist anti-vaccination people won’ t be convinced, however.

  5. Marilyn Wilking says:

    It is still not a conversation. It is a directive.

  6. M S Ellis, MD says:

    Worthless ad for GOOGLE.

    SHAME !

  7. Alyssa R. Letourneau, MD, MPH says:

    I had no idea you were such a fan of poker. I would recommend reading Thursday-Night Poker by Peter Steiner (he was my husband’s great uncle). An economist by day and phenomenal poker player by night. In his 80s he frequently would hustle many in Las Vegas as they didn’t think an old man would be so good!

  8. Cathy Corman says:

    A GREAT ad for Google products (search engine, maps, translate). Useless in terms of reaching and convincing those wary or left out of vaccination. We need Black and Latinx community leaders getting out the word as well as loads more mobile vaccination units reaching into urban neighborhoods and rural areas where logistics have been barriers to vaccination.

  9. Sandy Kimmel, MD says:

    I think the video is very nice, but I doubt that it will change minds. I live in a politically “red” area where much of the conversation about mask-wearing, etc. has been heavily politicized. It’s interesting that when former President Trump got the vaccine, he did so quietly and has not participated in efforts to encourage vaccination, as have other former presidents. It’s sad that a public health issue was turned into a political issue.

  10. Laureen Biczak says:

    I think yes as I think the ONLY thing that will convince some of the vaccine hesitant or the vaccine non-believers to get vaccinated is when vaccination is the key to getting back to things they WANT! It won’t be because their doctor or an official tells them to. It will be because they need the vaccine to get into the game or go on a cruise or to be allowed to see their grandchild. So, yes, reminding folks that returning life to normal means getting vaccinated is a message that may get some vaccine hesitant folks to click on where to get vaccinated. Some will never be swayed, but others are in the “maybe’ camp and this video may grab some of those.


    “A video that would work would show the poor souls hooked up to respirators…” No. I’ve shown noncompliant diabetics, patients with amputations with no ill effect. This google ad doesn’t address the concerns of resisters.

  12. Stefferz says:

    What about those who have had covid and have antibodies? Those people, who have documented antibodies without illness or vaccine, have protection but are not even considered. It is very disheartening how our politicians have made a mockery of healthcare.

  13. Marcela campo says:

    I don’t think it will persuade people to get the vaccine. Main reason is that many people are already doing all those activities without a vaccine. I see everyday on social media, neighbors and people I know living their lives as usual, posting pictures of parties, girls night out, weekend getaways with friends, etc. For them covid is already gone. Insert sad and frustrated emoji.

  14. Steve says:

    Define “significant” in the poll question? How many undecideds going ahead with the vaccine makes the video worth the time, resources and distribution efforts? Convert that into lives saved, or work the problem backwards – how many lives saved make the video worth it?

  15. JMN M.D. says:

    The entire “pandemic” a fiasco from the get go.Political to monetary.Mismanagement.blind control,shutout of practitioners in the field with no voice,the rush to vaccination and failing medical journalism.Those who raise issues about this: conspiracy theorists,deniers, antivaxers,any other name you want.Finally no real stage III rollout with the vaccines.Current rollout is actually just that and we are seeing the evolution of the more tragic adverse reactions.Comments re the vaccines are the usual: maybe,probably, yet to see ,likely,to be determined,too early to say,not causal(48 hour study).Thankfully there has been a “wakeup call” to “pause” and start “thinking” in the latest rollout.What’s to come :NOBODY KNOWS;it’s evolving before our eyes.What’s needed now is time and truth.It’s coming and so will treatments that may well quell the need for vaccination.For now lets keep THINKING.

  16. Anthony Works says:

    I am in your camp. I believe there is a significant group between groups 1 & 2. These are the followers. They wore masks because they didn’t want to be seen not wearing masks. They stayed home from church only because in-person church went virtual. They didn’t argue for the big Thanksgiving get-together because they suspected their Nephew Andy would object.

    This group will react positively to the commercial—not persuaded by its content—but because it exerts social pressure. People will love the commercial; they will want to conform to that love.

  17. Katie says:

    Agree it makes us feel good who have been (or in favor of getting) vaccinated. My concern is the people not getting the vaccine who then are the ones who get Covid and then have the virus mutate in their body, creating a variant. I have a close relative who is very much against the vaccine and is not a part of the black or brown community. This individual wants to be around my children (who have not yet been vaccinated) and I don’t want to allow it. Perhaps a video of someone getting Covid and creating a variant that then infects more people and spreads everywhere. Perhaps the video is a dream or nightmare) that envisions the situation I just mentioned, and then their reality when they decide to get vaccinated and allows them to get back to their life and things they enjoy doing.

  18. Jayegee says:

    Sandy Kimmel MD “Blue” areas are just as guilty. To the non-biased eye, both the “red” and “blue” sides have politicized what should have stayed a healthcare issue. Comments such as yours prove the bias. Sad …

  19. Dr Amod Gupta says:

    May be they showuld have named the virus “Martians” to convince the non-believers to get their shot of vaccine

  20. i.e. rabinovitz says:

    Many years ago they would show pictures of florid smallpox lesions covering the entire body of the afflicted. In any event, when I was a youngster you did not step through the schoolhouse door without a certificate. While there may then have been some “resistant” to that requirement, we did not hear much of them. The man-bites-dog stories propagate just like viruses do. Repeat the story of chicken with three legs in Emporia, Kansas, I suppose it doesn’t get very far and if it does, it causes little harm. But repeat the story of the internet-savvy who “know” that everything told to them is a “hoax” and you are in fact participating in the damage.

  21. JC PA-C says:

    This one ad is unlikely convince anyone on the fence about getting vaccinated. However, this one ad, along with others of this nature, distributed across social media, could begin to erode the anti-vax appeal.

  22. Digitalhunny says:

    This is what I post regularly to social media. Don’t know if it “helps”, but it DOES get people to think. Hopefully, enough to speak with their doctor.:

    If you’re worried about vaccines, could you _imagine_ putting _this_ into your body?!
    Alpha-linolenic acid, lignin, riboflavin, asparagine, D-categin, isoqurctrin, hyperoside, ferulic-acid, farnesene, neoxathin, phosphatidyl-choline, silver, lutein, quercitin, reynaitrin, sinapic-acid, caffeic-acid, chlorogenic-acid, p-hydroxy-benzoic-acid, p-coumric-acid, avicularin, retin, ursolic-acid, protocarechuic-acid.
    Putting this “crazy crap” _inside_ of you &/or your children?! No freaking way….. right? NOT. SO. FAST….
    THIS “list” is actually, the chemical make up of an organic apple.
    Regular people don’t understand how chemistry works. Please, stop taking bad medical advice, from social media. If you want to belong somewhere, try the human race. We ALL want our children to live long & happy lives. But, until these people have a Masters or PHD in molecular biology, chemistry, biochemistry OR an MD, ONLY then, listen. Especially, about what a “chemical list of ingredients” is & does! Common sense doesn’t have to be dead.
    So, yeah, anti-vaxxers are completely uneducated! Get your vaccines folks. (Afterall it’s the littlest prick, that hurts for your own good.)

  23. Shilpa Jog says:

    Just this one ad won’t work. But it may be the last nudge some people need. I have had many patients who are on edge, just waiting to decide, often genuinely interested in getting their questions answered. I think some of those people can be convinced if the narrative around them (including this ad) is pro-vaccination.

  24. Christy says:

    We have recently experienced COVID in our immediate local family members in California. All following masking and social distancing. Three of seven refused vaccination for fear of developing severe side effects and fear of the unknown. One of seven is 16 years old and could not get vaccinated. Three of our seven received one of two of vaccine series. One in our family developed symptoms of sniffles only and unknowingly was COVID positive and shared illness with all of us. The following became COVID positive-My 16 year old became very ill remained at home for duration of illness, grandmother hospitalized in step down ICU unit, sister in law very ill refused hospitalization as she would be sent to out to a hospital 50 miles away due to no local hospital beds, nephew hospitalized in ICU in nearby city due to no ICU beds in city we all live in (note all unvaccinated who became severely ill). My husband and brother became COVID positive with only mild runny nose and very mild chest congestion (both received 1 of 2 vaccine doses). I had just received both COVID vaccine doses at onset of others becoming ill and to date remain asymptomatic and COVID negative. I share this story because we have family in Idaho and Colorado who despite the above experiences, my being a Nurse Practitioner who has worked directly with COVID patients, and having been a Registered Nurse for thirty plus years am completely unable to convince our anti-vaccine family members the need to get vaccinated due to all the fake or distorted information out there (they believe the vaccine contains embryonic tissue and anti-freeze), the beliefs that COVID is just like the flu and has same fatality rate of the flu, and not believing COVID is real because their areas are pretty much open and they have not witnessed the illness directly or felt the consequences in their areas. We need actual videos of how bad things can easily get out of hand and videos of people that are sick or still trying to recover. Videos of how quickly it spreads like wildfire. Videos of what can happen such as seeing a doctor have to use an algorithm to determine who will and will not get get care in hospital flat out because there aren’t enough beds or trained staff to provide care as what may occur in Quebec soon. We need videos dispelling myths and giving accurate information to the public. This still may not change the mind set of anti-vaccers, but may have better success than the video presented.

  25. Jeanne says:

    This is “warm and fuzzy,” but not effective. We need to show the 18 to 35 age group that they have been affected by this. My student population has lost 3 parents that fall into the 38 plus age group. Several grandparents, also. But I have seen about 1 in 10 that have experienced a moderate case with some issues after recovery. We need to show the 18-35’ers the people that were in those hospital beds on ventilators and those that have passed from COVID. Show them the effect it has had on the health care workers. Show them that this has changed the world and it will not completely be eradicated like Smallpox was, but it can be controlled by immunizing, We have a much poorer overall immunization rate than some third world countries and need to better educate the population about vaccines and how they work. I remember Measles, I remember polio and we are still fighting the immunization stigma of the late 80′ with pertussis. We have to educate the new parent, the high schoolers and make it mandatory for college students.

HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

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Infectious Diseases

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