Vaccination hesitancy and conspiracy beliefs in the UK during the SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic

Authored By: Alison M. Bacon and Steven Taylor

Conspiracy beliefs about the intent behind vaccination promotion and vaccination hesitancy continue to present as a barrier against achieving herd immunity during the COVID pandemic. This research examined the relationships between conspiracy theories and non-financial rewards to receive vaccination in the United Kingdom. Participants completed a survey before developing a vaccine, after creation, and following the start of vaccination programs. Participants shared their perspectives on COVID-19 related concerns about vaccination, their level of belief in conspiracy theories, willingness to receive a COVID vaccine. They provided insight on what may encourage behaviour change to consider obtaining a vaccine. The study’s findings demonstrate that individuals in the United Kingdom were more vaccine-hesitant before development and significantly less hesitant after vaccine programs. Despite a change in vaccine hesitancy, it is crucial to keep in mind participants remained concerned about the safety of the vaccines, and report of adverse reactions remains an ongoing threat to participation in vaccine programs. Belief in conspiracy theories about the vaccine was found to play a small role in patient hesitancy and continue to decline as success rates continue to increase.

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