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Profiling Hesitancy to COVID-19 Vaccinations in Six European Countries: Behavioral, Attitudinal and Demographic Determinants

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Authors: Kyprianidou, M., Konstantinou, P., Alvarez-Galvez, J., Ceccarelli, L., Gruszczyńska, E., Mierzejewska-Floreani, D., Loumba N., Montagni I. Tavoschi L., Karekla M., & Kassianos, A. P.

Abstract: Vaccination hesitancy is an important barrier for the effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic. Identifying determinants of COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy is essential in order to reduce mortality rates. Further, given the variability of the factors and the different recommendations used in each country, it is important to conduct cross-country research to profile individuals who are hesitant toward COVID-19 vaccinations. This cross-sectional study aimed to examine cross-country differences and the behavioral, attitudinal and demographic characteristics of vaccine hesitant individuals. Adults living in six European countries (Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain) were eligible to participate. A total of 832 individuals completed the online survey, with 17.9% reporting being hesitant to COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine accepters were significantly older (M = 38.9, SD = 14.3), more educated (master/postgraduate studies) and lived in a place with a higher number of residents (>500,000 people) compared to those hesitant to COVID-19 vaccination. Discriminant analysis confirmed that the hesitant profile includes a person of younger age, living alone in smaller communities, and without children. Additionally, hesitant participants reported COVID-19-specific characteristics such as lower institutional trust, less adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviors and higher pandemic fatigue. When tackling COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy both socio-demographic and behavioral/attitudinal aspects should be taken into account. Stakeholders are advised to implement targeted vaccination programs while at the same time building trust with population illness cognitions addressed in order to reduce hesitancy rates. Further, stakeholders and public health authorities in each country are suggested to target interventions according to different population characteristics as behavioral and attitudinal determinants of COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy differed between countries.

Published in: Behavioral Medicine (2022), 1-12.

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