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Vaccine hesitancy, state bias, and Covid-19: Evidence from a survey experiment using Phase-3 results announcement by BioNTech and Pfizer.

Authors
  • Kobayashi, Yoshiharu1
  • Howell, Christopher2
  • Heinrich, Tobias2
  • 1 School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds, Social Sciences Building, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Political Science, University of South Carolina, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Social science & medicine (1982)
Publication Date
Jun 15, 2021
Volume
282
Pages
114115–114115
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114115
PMID: 34157613
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Past survey studies document that people strongly prefer Covid-19 vaccines developed domestically over those developed abroad. Available evidence suggests that this preference for domestic vaccines over foreign ones may stem from prejudice against foreign countries, but identifying prejudice-based vaccine preferences is difficult because people also draw inferences about the quality of vaccines based on country of origin. We exploit a unique opportunity provided by the announcement of a viable vaccine by a bi-national venture, BioNTech and Pfizer, to examine the effect of such prejudice on vaccination intentions while controlling for beliefs about the vaccine quality. We implemented a survey experiment in Germany and the United States (n = 582, 661 respectively) a few days after the BioNTech/Pfizer announcement of a viable vaccine. We randomized the identified company (and country) responsible for the vaccine development between BioNTech (Germany) and Pfizer (U.S.) and asked respondents when they would take said vaccine. In either the German and U.S. samples, we find little evidence that a country of origin of the vaccine makes a difference in when respondents intend to get vaccinated. We also see no evidence that those with a general animus toward the other foreign country would be more biased against a foreign vaccine. Our findings suggest that prejudice against foreign countries may be less of a concern for vaccine hesitancy and that its effect may be highly context specific. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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