An interesting article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association open network by Sarah Kreps and others in November 2020 looked at this key point.
They argued that widespread public uptake of the vaccine is crucial to stem the pandemic and examined the factors associated with survey participants’ self-reported likelihood of selecting and receiving a hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine.
Participants were asked to evaluate their willingness to receive each hypothetical vaccine individually and the survey presented respondents with five choice tasks.
In each, participants evaluated two hypothetical COVID-19 vaccines and were either asked whether they would choose vaccine A, vaccine B or neither. Vaccine attributes included efficacy, protection duration, major adverse effects, minor adverse effects, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, national origin of the vaccine, and its endorsement.
Levels of each attribute for each vaccine were randomly assigned, and attribute order was randomised across participants. Survey data was collected on July 9, 2020.
A total of 1971 US adults responded to the survey.
The median age was 43:
- 999, that is 51%, were women.
- 1432, 73% were white.
- 277, 14% were black.
- 190, 10% were Latin.
An increase in efficacy from 50% to 70% was associated with a higher probability of choosing the vaccine, an increase from 50% to 90% was associated with an even higher probability of choosing a vaccine.
An increase in protection duration from one to five years was also associated with a higher probability of choosing a vaccine.
A decrease in the incidence of major adverse effects from 1 in 10,000 to one in a million was also associated with a higher probability of choosing a vaccine.
Interestingly enough, an FDA emergency use authorisation was associated with a lower probability of choosing a vaccine compared with full FDA approval.
A vaccine that originated from a non-US country was associated with a lower probability of choosing a vaccine.
Endorsement from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) and the World Health Organisation compared with an endorsement from President Trump were associated with a higher probability of choosing a vaccine.
In this survey study of US adults, vaccine-related attributes and political characteristics were associated with self-reported preferences for choosing a hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine and self-reported willingness to receive vaccination.
This survey study provides the first systematic evidence of factors associated with individual preference towards COVID-19 vaccination.
This analysis also offers insights about the groups or characteristics that are likely to be associated with vaccine hesitancy and therefore can be used to inform public health efforts to communicate effectively about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Older people and, consistent with past research on the uptake of influenza vaccines, black individuals and women reported being less likely, on average, to receive a vaccine against COVID-19.
It is suggested that public health authorities should consider outreach strategies that address the specific concerns of older adults and minority communities that have been more susceptible to COVID-19.