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What is vaccine hesitancy?

Vaccine denial is a term used to describe the behavior of the general public to delay or refuse vaccination against infectious diseases that threaten global security, even though such vaccination is available. Anti-vaccinationists or the more common term anti-vaxxers are terms used to describe the outright rejection of vaccination. There are several reasons that influence the decision-making process for vaccinations against diseases.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved certain Covid-19 vaccines. Although the Covid-19 vaccines were developed relatively quickly, they were developed using processes that were designed and developed over many years.

The purpose of these processes was to develop and test vaccines in the shortest possible time in the event of an infectious disease pandemic such as Covid-19. The vaccines were tested by independent scientists using various testing methods to ensure their effectiveness and reliability.

An August 2021 study found that people who had contracted the virus and were not vaccinated had twice the risk of being re-infected, while people who had been vaccinated after being infected received additional protection against re-infection.

Despite ongoing efforts to vaccinate worldwide to contain the pandemic, there has been a growing reluctance to vaccinate in some countries. Misinformation on social media seems to be the driving factor behind this trend. A study was conducted in high-income countries and a framework was developed based on this research. From the results, the researchers developed the 5-C model. This model highlights five person-level determinants that influence vaccination hesitancy:

1. Convenience

A simple and easily accessible vaccination may lower the inhibition to Covid-19 vaccination. People are more hesitant to get vaccinated if they are traveling by car or if the facility is not in a convenient location. This is especially true in low socio-economic situations. Another important factor is removing financial barriers. The pandemic has taken a toll on many people's personal finances, especially in low-income households. Removing financial barriers by offering free vaccinations can increase confidence and willingness to vaccinate.

2. Complacency

Certain age groups expressed complacency because they believe they are at low risk. In other words, many of the younger population believed that they were not as much at risk as older people or people with serious underlying diseases. In addition, people saw the disease as not as serious or deadly.

3. Confidence

It is crucial to convince people that a vaccine is safe. If the importance and effectiveness of the vaccine are effectively communicated, it will be easier to get people to participate in vaccination campaigns. However, recent events have damaged this confidence. Most notably, the incidents in which patients who had received AstraZeneca's vaccine suffered blood clots. In addition, reports of deaths following a Covid-19 vaccination have further bolstered low confidence in Covid-19 vaccines.

4. Collective responsibility

This refers to the willingness of individuals to protect others by getting vaccinated. Many people felt that once herd immunity is achieved, they no longer have a responsibility to get vaccinated. This is also closely related to intention to get vaccinated. Intention to vaccinate is lower when there is no perceived serious threat. This means that individuals feel less obligation to protect themselves or others.

5. Risk calculation

Risk calculation was an important factor in determining the safety of the vaccine. Because of various situations that decreased confidence in the reliability and safety of the vaccine, people were less likely to take the vaccine.


Miscommunication in regard to the facts and evidence related to the Covid-19 vaccine can be challenged and addressed through active efforts of communication and campaigns seeking to inform the public on the benefits associated with taking the vaccine.

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