Predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the UK Household Longitudinal Study
02 Jan 2021
Background: Vaccination is crucial to address the COVID-19 pandemic but vaccine hesitancy could undermine control efforts. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the UK population, identify which population subgroups are more likely to be vaccine hesitant, and report stated reasons for vaccine hesitancy.
Methods: Nationally representative survey data from 12,035 participants were collected from 24th November to 1st December 2020 for wave 6 of the ‘Understanding Society’ COVID-19 web survey. Participants were asked how likely or unlikely they would be to have a vaccine if offered and their main reason for hesitancy. Cross-sectional analysis assessed prevalence of vaccine hesitancy and logistic regression models conducted.
Findings: Overall intention to be vaccinated was high (82% likely/very likely). Vaccine hesitancy was higher in women (21.0% vs 14.7%), younger age groups (26.5% in 16-24 year olds vs 4.5% in 75+) and less educated (18.6% no qualifications vs 13.2% degree qualified). Vaccine hesitancy was particularly high in Black (71.8%), Pakistani/Bangladeshi (42.3%), Mixed (32.4%) and non-UK/Irish White (26.4%) ethnic groups. Fully adjusted models showed gender, education and ethnicity were independently associated with vaccine hesitancy. Odds ratios for vaccine hesitancy were 12.96 (95% CI:7.34, 22.89) in the Black/Black British and 2.31 (95% CI:1.55, 3.44) in Pakistani/Bangladeshi ethnic groups (compared to White British/Irish ethnicity) and 3.24 (95%CI:1.93, 5.45) for people with no qualifications compared to degree educated. The main reason for hesitancy was fears over unknown future effects.
Interpretation: Older people at greatest COVID-19 mortality risk expressed the greatest willingness to be vaccinated but Black and Pakistani/Bangladeshi ethnic groups had greater vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine programmes should prioritise measures to improve uptake in specific minority ethnic groups.
Open Access; The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted medRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license.; Is used in: Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) (2021) 'Factors influencing COVID-19 vaccine uptake among minority ethnic groups'. London: Government Office for Science.