Overall, the research found that women and individuals with lower incomes or education levels were less willing to be vaccinated. Having more knowledge about the COVID-19 vaccines (for example, how a COVID-19 vaccine works) was associated with lower vaccine hesitancy. Analyses also showed that differences in vaccine knowledge could account for disparities in vaccine hesitancy across income and education levels. This suggests that vaccine knowledge dissemination may help reduce COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in certain disadvantaged communities.
Participants not yet willing to receive the vaccine were also randomly assigned to respond to one of two additional questions. One-half was asked at what percentage of the general public had to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before they themselves would get vaccinated. The other half was asked to indicate the percentage for “people you personally know.”
On average, vaccine hesitant individuals indicated that that they would get the vaccine when 64 percent of the general public had been vaccinated. This number was much lower—54 percent—when the reference group was “people you personally know. This pattern suggests that, rather than leveraging aggregate vaccination statistics per se, vaccine promotion campaigns should also be designed to amplify the positive influence of each person’s vaccination across that individual’s social networks.