Effective Science Communication: The Case of Vaccines
Aula A Ca' Bottacin, Dorsoduro 3911, Venezia
research fellow, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
freelance health journalist
The issue of vaccines is a crucial crossroad between science and society. Their acceptance by the public does not rely only on scientific aspects, such as efficacy and safety, but it is also conditioned by societal, cultural, psychological and sometimes even religious factors. When communicating about this, scientists, health authorities, journalists and doctors have to remember how people’s attitudes about vaccines do not depend on knowledge only, but also on cognitive biases - especially related to risk perception – past experiences, personal values and lifestyles. Even metaphors can seriously affect the reaction of lay public to vaccine communication. In this talk, we will present preliminary results of the research work made within QUEST, an EU-funded project on quality and effectiveness in science and technology communication, where vaccines are an interesting case study, along with climate change and artificial intelligence. Our mapping of education in science communication all over Europe shows a very diverse, fragmented and as lively as unstable landscape. In order to improve quality and effectiveness, science of science communication needs to be better acknowledged, funded and supported.
Short Bio: Roberta Villa is a medical doctor, freelance health journalist and science writer. She had been contributing to main Italian magazines and newspapers, such as Corriere della Sera, for more than 25 years. Since 2012, she has also been working on EU-funded projects about preparedness and response to infectious threats, especially by communication and involvement of the public. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in project QUEST (Quality and Efficacy of Science Communication in Europe) in the Dept. of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. She is member of the strategic nucleus within the Italian National Immunization Technical Advisory Group and contributes to the website “Dottore, ma è vero che…” for the Federation of Italian Medical Associations (FNOMCeO). Author of “Acqua sporca” (Zadig, 2014), with Antonino Michienzi, on the Stamina affair, “Vaccini, il diritto di non avere paura” (Corriere della Sera, 2017; Pensiero scientifico, 2019) and, with Silvio Garattini, of “Il Guerriero Gentile” (Solferino, 2019) she is also very active in health and science communication on new social media (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).
Università Ca' Foscari Venezia