Denmark trial uses virtual reality game to boost Covid vaccinations

Denmark trial uses virtual reality game to boost Covid vaccinations

Denmark researchers are using virtual reality to encourage more Covid-19 vaccinations, through a game of maneuvering through a virus-infected crowd in a city square.

In an experiment by the University of Copenhagen, participants were made to wear goggles to play an elderly person crossing the square while avoiding red-clothed bypassers infected with Covid-19. Vaccinated characters were those in dressed in blue.

“It was fun, definitely. It felt like you were there,” said Adam, a participant who got infected in the game he played in a Copenhagen park.

Adam already had decided to get a Covid-19 shot before this, he said.

“We know from similar studies that after people went through a virtual reality experience like this, their vaccination intention increases. We have observed this with Covid already,” said Robert Bohm, professor of psychology at the University of Copenhagen, citing a prior online study by the researchers.

The idea can be used at doctor’s offices, he suggested.

The World Health Organisation estimates that immunisation prevents 4 million to 5 million deaths every year.

In February-March, more than a quarter of European Union adults said they would refuse a Covid-19 shot, a survey by the EU agency Eurofound showed.

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