BackgroundPublic polling indicates that vaccine uptake will be suboptimal when COVID-19 vaccines become available. Formative research seeking an understanding of weak vaccination intentions is urgently needed.
MethodsNationwide online survey of 804 U.S. English-speaking adults. Compensated participants were recruited from the U.S. through an internet survey panel of 2.5 million residents developed by a commercial survey firm. Recruitment was based on quota sampling to produce a U.S. Census-matched sample representative of the nation with regard to region of residence, sex, and age.
ResultsCOVID-19 vaccination intentions were weak, with 14.8% of respondents being unlikely to get vaccinated and another 23.0% unsure. Intent to vaccinate was highest for men, older people, individuals who identified as white and non-Hispanic, the affluent and college-educated, Democrats, those who were married or partnered, people with pre-existing medical conditions, and those vaccinated against influenza during the 2019-2020 flu season. In a multiple linear regression, significant predictors of vaccination intent were general vaccine knowledge (β = 0.311, p < .001), rejection of vaccine conspiracies (β = -0.117, p = .003), perceived severity of COVID-19 (β = 0.273, p < .001), influenza vaccine uptake (β = 0.178, p < .001), having ≥ 5 pre-existing conditions (β = 0.098, p = .003), being male (β = 0.119, p < .001), household income of ≥ $120,000 (β = 0.110, p = .004), identifying as a Democrat (β = 0.075, p < .029), and not relying upon social media for virus information (β = -0.090, p 〈002). Intent to vaccinate was lower for Fox News (57.3%) than CNN/MSNBC viewers (76.4%) (χ2(1) = 12.68, p < .001). Political party differences in threat appraisals and vaccine conspiracy beliefs are described.
ConclusionsDemographic characteristics, vaccine knowledge, perceived vulnerability to COVID-19, risk factors for COVID-19, and politics likely contribute to vaccination hesitancy.