Better Understanding Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy and Refusal: The Influence of Broader Beliefs about Vaccines

John Boyle, Glen Nowak, Rachel Kinder, Ronaldo Iachan and James Dayton. “Better Understanding Adult COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy and Refusal: The Influence of Broader Beliefs about Vaccines,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, June 2022, 19(11).

doi: 10.3390/ijerph19116838

Abstract: Published surveys in the United States provide much evidence that COVID-19 vaccination is influenced by disease and vaccine-related risk perceptions. However, there has been little examination of whether individual’s general beliefs about vaccines are also related to COVID-19 vaccination, especially among unvaccinated adults. This study used an August 2021 national survey of 1000 U.S. adults to examine whether general beliefs about vaccines were associated with COVID-19 vaccination status. In addition, it used multivariate analyses to assess the relative contribution of individual vaccine beliefs to current vaccine status independently of COVID-19-specific attitudes and experiences, and demographics. The findings indicated that, collectively, general vaccine beliefs mattered more than demographics, COVID-19-specific risk perceptions, confidence in government, or trust in public health agencies in COVID-19 vaccination status. Overall, the findings affirm the importance of vaccine education and communication efforts that help people understand why vaccines are needed, how vaccine safety is established and monitored, and how vaccines provide protection from infectious diseases. To achieve success among vaccine-hesitant individuals, communication strategies should target vaccine beliefs that most influence vaccination outcomes.