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Published January 2022 | Supplemental Material + Submitted
Journal Article Open

The politics of vaccine hesitancy in the United States


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.

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.

Attached Files

Submitted - 2021.12.01.21267160v1.full.pdf

Supplemental Material - ssqu13106-sup-0001-suppmat.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023