Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Nena Stracuzzi


COVID-19 vaccination is an important public health tool in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic, but vaccination rates in the U.S. are inadequate for reaching herd immunity, leaving public health officials to develop strategies to increase vaccination rates. The field of public health has historically used stigmatizing messaging to encourage health behaviors. Through a content analysis COVID-19 Facebook posts made by the Alabama Public Health, Mississippi State Department of Health, Rhode Island Department of Health, and Vermont Department of Health, this study explores the types of messaging used to influence COVID-19 vaccination behavior and looks to determine if stigmatization of non-vaccination is occurring. It was found that marketing from all four states included messaging about cultural-moral institutional norms, which may contribute to stigmatization of non-vaccination behavior. The lack of differences in the marketing strategies used in states with high vs. low vaccination rates suggests that stigmatization does not correlate with higher vaccination rates. Implications and potential alternatives to stigmatizing messaging are discussed.

Available for download on Tuesday, June 04, 2024