Which demographic groups are likely to be resistant to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine? Australian research provides some guidance
Will enough people be willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to ensure herd immunity? And which groups will be least willing?
A new Australian study has produced decidedly mixed findings for public health experts and governments with its results raising concerns over the numbers who are question the vaccine’s safety and utility.
“Given that over 75 per cent of the population are likely to need to be vaccinated with a highly
effective vaccine to extinguish the epidemic, our findings that only 59 per cent of Australians will definitely get vaccinated is sobering,” said the study authors, from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, Canberra.
They conducted a representative longitudinal online survey of 3061 adults from around Australia, with all surveys completed by 12 August 2020.
Overall, 59% of respondents said they would definitely get the vaccine. Another 29% had low levels of hesitancy, while 7% had high levels of hesitancy and 6% were resistant.
Females, those living in disadvantaged areas, those who reported that risks of COVID-19 was overstated, those who had more populist views and higher levels of religiosity were more likely to be hesitant.
People with higher levels of household income, those who had higher levels of social distancing, who downloaded the COVID-Safe App, who had more confidence in their state or territory government or confidence in their hospitals, or were more supportive of migration were more likely to intend to get vaccinated.
The findings suggest that proactive measures need to be adopted to encourage vaccination in the community, the authors said.
“Our findings suggest that vaccine hesitancy, which accounts for a further significant proportion of the population, and can be addressed by public health messaging”.
“However, for a significant minority of the population with strongly held beliefs that are the likely drivers of
vaccination intentions, alternative policy measures may well be needed to achieve sufficient
The authors noted that while a review of previous research on compulsory vaccination policies suggested that the majority of the population supports these programs.
“However, none of the studies in the systematic review were conducted during a pandemic where civil liberties were restricted due to lockdowns and a staged approach may well be more proportional,” they said.
The research was published in the journal PLOS ONE.