COVID-19 Vaccine Misperceptions in a Community Sample of Adults Aged 18–49 Years in Australia
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Central to a successful population vaccination program is high uptake of vaccines. However, COVID-19 vaccine uptake may be impeded by beliefs based on misinformation. We sought to understand the prevalence and nature of misbeliefs about COVID-19 vaccines, and identify associated factors, shortly after commencement of Australia’s national vaccine rollout. A cross-sectional survey was administered to unvaccinated young adults (n = 2050) in Australia aged 18–49 years (mean age 33 years), 13 July – 21 August 2021. This sample was previously under-represented in COVID-19 research but shown to have less willingness to vaccinate. Two thirds of participants agreed with at least one misbelief item. Misperceptions about COVID-19 vaccines were found to be significantly associated with lower health literacy, less knowledge about vaccines, lower perceived personal risk of COVID-19, greater endorsement of conspiracy beliefs, and lower confidence and trust in government and scientific institutions. Misbeliefs were more common in participants with less educational attainment, in younger age groups, and in males, as per previous research. Understanding determinants and barriers to vaccination uptake, such as knowledge and beliefs based on misinformation, can help to shape effective public health communication and inform debunking efforts at this critical time and in the future.
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National Health and Medical Research Council