Researchers in Denmark are using a virtual reality game of maneuvering through a virus-infected crowd in a city square to encourage more COVID-19 vaccinations.
The University of Copenhagen is leading the experiment wherein the participants put on VR glasses to act like an older person crossing the square while avoiding red-clothed bypassers to signify those infected with COVID-19. The vaccinated individuals within the game are showcased 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. However, he had already taken a COVID-19 shot before the engagement activity.
“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, the professor of psychology at the University of Copenhagen, mentioning a previously conducted online study by the researchers.
He further suggested that the idea could be deployed at doctor’s offices.
According to the World Health Organisation, immunization prevents 4 million to 5 million deaths every year. In a survey conducted by EU agency Eurofound during February and March, a quarter of European Union adults stated they would refuse a COVID-19 shot.
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