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The politics of vaccine hesitancy in the United States

Cao, Jian and Ramirez, Christina and Alvarez, R. Michael (2022) The politics of vaccine hesitancy in the United States. Social Science Quarterly, 103 (1). pp. 42-54. ISSN 0038-4941. doi:10.1111/ssqu.13106.

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Objective: Why are Americans COVID-19 vaccine hesitant? We test social science hypotheses for vaccine hesitancy, focusing on partisanship, trust in institutions, and social-demographic characteristics of registered voters. Methods: We use survey data from a representative sample of American registered voters collected in November 2020 to study vaccine hesitancy, and the reasons for vaccine hesitancy, at a point in time before the vaccine was available and hence show underlying responses based on beliefs and not on clinical trial data. We use multivariate logistic regression models to test hypotheses on vaccine hesitancy. Results: We find that consistently similar groups of people tend to be vaccine hesitant. Specifically, black voters, those between the ages of 45 and 64, female voters, voters without college degrees, voters not worried about the spread of COVID-19, and voters who are concerned about government and the CDC's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, were vaccine hesitant. We also provide intriguing results showing the nuanced reasons that the vaccine hesitant provide. Conclusions: Our analysis allows us to establish important baseline information from a social science perspective on vaccine hesitancy at a crucial time, right before COVID-19 vaccines were beginning to be made available to adult Americans. What emerges from our analysis is a nuanced perspective on vaccine hesitancy in the United States, from this important point in the history of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Cao, Jian0000-0001-9266-1970
Ramirez, Christina0000-0002-8435-0416
Alvarez, R. Michael0000-0002-8113-4451
Additional Information:© 2021 by the Southwestern Social Science Association. Issue Online: 24 March 2022; Version of Record online: 24 December 2021; Manuscript accepted: 29 November 2021; Manuscript revised: 12 November 2021; Manuscript received: 10 August 2021. Research Funding: John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation. Grant Number: 1377575.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation1377575
Subject Keywords:politics; United States; vaccine hesitancy
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211203-174950438
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:The politics of vaccine hesitancy in the United States. Cao, J., Ramirez, Christina M., Alvarez, R. Michael. 2022. “ The Politics of Vaccine Hesitancy in the United States.” Social Science Quarterly. 103: 42–54.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:112193
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:03 Dec 2021 18:59
Last Modified:07 Apr 2022 21:59

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