Science Communication: SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Edition, with Matthew Facciani, PhD

Matthew Facciani, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University in the Medicine, Health, and Society Department. His research interests include LGBTQ health, social networks, political polarization, and misinformation. We discuss science communication and how to find ways to make complicated science easier to understand. This is particularly relevant because of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, so we need to be sure we can effectively communicate how it works and any potential risks. We even get into how to effectively conceptualize and communicate risk. I fumbled during the interview to think of a quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson, which is “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it,” but Dr. Facciani makes the point that even science is not without politics, so we discuss this and how because of politics, the traditional antivaxxer isn’t the same as the SARS-CoV-2 antivaxxer.

Dr. Facciani received a BA in Psychology from Westminster College and MA and PhD in Sociology from The University of South Carolina. Facciani’s writing and research has appeared in The Conversation, Snopes, Salon, Mother Jones, and other outlets. Facciani has also given talks about his research to audiences around the country and has provided scientific testimony to policy makers.  Find him at and his podcast Social Science Hour.

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