Public decisions about COVID-19 vaccines: a UK-based qualitative study

Williams, Simon N, Armitage, Christopher J, Dienes, Kimberley, Drury, John and Tampe, Tova (2022) Public decisions about COVID-19 vaccines: a UK-based qualitative study. PLoS One. ISSN 1932-6203 (Accepted)

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To explore UK public decisions around whether or not to get COVID-19 vaccines, and the facilitators and barriers behind participants’ decisions.

This qualitative study consisted of six online focus groups conducted between 15th March and 22nd April 2021. Data were analysed using a framework approach.

Focus groups took place via online videoconferencing (Zoom).

Participants (n=29) were a diverse group (by ethnicity, age and gender) UK residents aged 18 years and older.

We used the World Health Organization’s vaccine hesitancy continuum model to look for, and explore, three main types of decisions related to COVID-19 vaccines: vaccine acceptance, vaccine refusal and vaccine hesitancy (or vaccine delay). Two reasons for vaccine delay were identified: delay due to a perceived need for more information and delay until vaccine was “required” in the future. Nine themes were identified: three main facilitators (Vaccination as a social norm; Vaccination as a necessity; Trust in science) and six main barriers (Preference for “natural immunity”; Concerns over possible side effects; Perceived lack of information; Distrust in government;; Conspiracy theories; “Covid echo chambers”) to vaccine uptake.

In order to address vaccine uptake and vaccine hesitancy, it is useful to understand the reasons behind people’s decisions to accept or refuse an offer of a vaccine, and to listen to them and engage with, rather than dismiss, these reasons. Those working in public health or health communication around vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, in and beyond the UK, might benefit from incorporating the facilitators and barriers found in this study.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2023 11:01
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2023 11:15

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