By Jasper L. Tran
Vaccinated individuals — like Tolstoy’s happy families — are all alike; each unvaccinated individual is hesitant for her own reason.
Prior research conducted in developed countries reveals five main individual-level determinants of pre-COVID vaccine hesitancy (commonly referred to as the 5 C model drivers of vaccine hesitancy): (1) Confidence (trust in vaccine’s effectiveness and safety, vaccine administrators and their motives); (2) Complacency (perceiving infection risks as low and vaccination as unnecessary); (3) Convenience / Constraints (structural or psychological barriers to converting vaccination intentions into vaccine uptake); (4) Risk Calculation (perceiving higher risks related to vaccination than the infection itself); and (5) Collective Responsibility (willingness to vaccinate to protect others through herd immunity).
COVID-19 vaccines see these five hesitancy determinants again, only further exacerbated by waves of misinformation promulgated on social media, including through “bot” accounts, that prey on the concerns and insecurities of an already vulnerable public.
On the one hand, irrational and unreasonable conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and its vaccine abound among the anti-vaxxers — a subgroup of science deniers. These conspiracy theories include: