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The Vaccination Concerns in COVID-19 Scale (VaCCS): Development and validation.


Vaccines are highly effective in minimizing serious cases of COVID-19 and pivotal to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite widespread availability, vaccination rates fall short of levels required to bring about widespread immunity, with low rates attributed to vaccine hesitancy. It is therefore important to identify the beliefs and concerns associated with vaccine intentions and uptake. The present study aimed to develop and validate, using the AMEE Guide, the Vaccination Concerns in COVID-19 Scale (VaCCS), a comprehensive measure of beliefs and concerns with respect to COVID-19 vaccines. In the scale development phase, samples of Australian (N = 53) and USA (N = 48) residents completed an initial open-response survey to elicit beliefs and concerns about COVID-19 vaccines. A concurrent rapid literature review was conducted to identify content from existing scales on vaccination beliefs. An initial pool of items was developed informed by the survey responses and rapid review. The readability and face validity of the item pool was assessed by behavioral science experts (N = 5) and non-experts (N = 10). In the scale validation phase, samples of Australian (N = 522) and USA (N = 499) residents completed scaled versions of the final item pool and measures of socio-political, health beliefs and outcomes, and trait measures. Exploratory factor analysis yielded a scale comprising 35 items with 8 subscales, and subsequent confirmatory factor analyses indicated acceptable fit of the scale structure with the data in each sample and factorial invariance across samples. Concurrent and predictive validity tests indicated a theoretically and conceptually predictable pattern of relations between the VaCCS subscales with the socio-political, health beliefs and outcomes, and trait measures, and key subscales predicted intentions to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The VaCCS provides a novel measure to assess beliefs and concerns toward COVID-19 vaccination that researchers and practitioners can use in its entirety or select specific sub-scales to use according to their needs.

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