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Willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 declines in Australia, except in lockdown areas
journal contributionposted on 21.07.2021, 05:06 by Gia ToGia To, Robert StantonRobert Stanton, Saman KhalesiSaman Khalesi, Susan WilliamsSusan Williams, Stephanie AlleyStephanie Alley, Tanya Thwaite, Andrew FenningAndrew Fenning, Corneel VandelanotteCorneel Vandelanotte
This study investigates changes in willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 and the effect of the extended restrictions in metropolitan Victoria on this change. Longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data were collected from online surveys distributed in April, between July and August, and December 2020. Australian adults who were ≥18 years old were recruited through email lists, social media networks, and paid Facebook advertisement. Willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 was self-reported. The results showed that participants were more willing to vaccinate if the vaccine was safe at survey 1 (longitudinal: adjusted OR (aOR) = 1.88, 95%CI = 1.38, 2.56; cross-sectional: aOR = 3.73, 95%CI = 2.55, 5.45) and survey 2 (longitudinal: aOR = 1.54, 95%CI = 1.19, 2.00; cross-sectional: aOR = 2.48, 1.67, 3.67), compared to survey 3. The change in willingness to vaccinate if the vaccine was safe and effective was not significant for those in Metropolitan Victoria; but was for those living in other Australian locations at survey 1 (OR = 2.13, 95%CI = 1.64, 2.76) and survey 2 (OR = 1.62, 95%CI = 1.30, 2.01), compared to survey 3. Willingness to vaccinate even if a vaccine had not been proven safe decreased at survey 3 (OR = 2.02, 95%CI = 1.14, 3.57) for those living in Metropolitan Victoria. In conclusion willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 decreased over time among Australians, except for those living in metropolitan Victoria, where an additional strict and prolonged lockdown was implemented around the time of survey 2. Either the experience of the lockdown, or the presence of the COVID-19 virus itself had a positive influence on participants’ willingness to vaccinate, even if such a vaccine was not yet proven to be safe and effective.