What makes Australians less willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have examined the reasons why some Australians remain undecided about whether or not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

In an online survey published in PLOS ONE of more than 1,000 Australians, conducted in May 2020 as part of the Values Project, researchers found 65 per cent of Australians were willing to be vaccinated, and 27 per cent would possibly be willing to be vaccinated.

Australians were less willing to be vaccinated when they perceived COVID-19 as less severe, had less trust in science, were less willing to be vaccinated for influenza, or were female.

Lead researcher Dr Katie Attwell, from UWA’s School of Social Sciences, said the findings would help government and health authorities convince undecided people to get vaccinated.

“The effectiveness of any COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be reliant on maximising uptake.

In our study, the significant number of people who remain undecided about whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, despite the ongoing devastating consequences of the virus for individuals, communities, and economies, is concerning.”

Dr Katie Attwell

Dr Katie Attwell

“In Australia, the number of people who are willing to be vaccinated for COVID-19 appears to be dropping over time. When we repeated our survey with a subset of participants in November 2020, the number of participants willing to be vaccinated was just 56 per cent, down from 65 per cent in May,” Dr Attwell said.

“However, things are developing quickly in this space and the imminent availability of vaccines will be changing the landscape yet again. Other recent studies are reporting higher anticipated uptake, which is good news.”

Dr Attwell will be co-leading the Coronavax study, a collaborative project between UWA and Telethon Kids Institute, which is about to start research into the attitudes, beliefs, information and accessibility requirements of the WA community regarding getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

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