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 wear goggles to play an elderly person crossing the square while avoiding red-clothed bypassers infected with Covid-19. Vaccinated characters dress 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.