Examining Australian public perceptions and behaviors towards a future COVID-19 vaccine.BMC Infect Dis. 2021 Jan 28; 21(1):120.BI
As immunisation program launches have previously demonstrated, it is essential that careful planning occurs now to ensure the readiness of the public for a COVID-19 vaccine. As part of that process, this study aimed to understand the public perceptions regarding a future COVID-19 vaccine in Australia.
A national cross-sectional online survey of 1420 Australian adults (18 years and older) was undertaken between 18 and 24 March 2020. The statistical analysis of the data included univariate and multivariable logistic regression model analysis.
Respondents generally held positive views towards vaccination. Eighty percent (n = 1143) agreed with the statement that getting myself vaccinated for COVID-19 would be a good way to protect myself against infection. Females (n = 614, 83%) were more likely to agree with the statement than males (n = 529, 78%) (aOR = 1.4 (95% CI: 1.1-1.8); P = 0.03), while 91% of those aged 70 years and above agreed compared to 76% of 18-29-year-olds (aOR = 2.3 (95% CI:1.2-4.1); P = 0.008). Agreement was also higher for those with a self-reported chronic disease (aOR = 1.4 (95% CI: 1.1-2.0); P = 0.04) and among those who held private health insurance (aOR = 1.7 (95% CI: 1.3-2.3); P < 0.001). Beyond individual perceptions, 78% stated that their decision to vaccinate would be supported by family and friends.
This study presents an early indication of public perceptions towards a future COVID-19 vaccine and represents a starting point for mapping vaccine perceptions. To support an effective launch of these new vaccines, governments need to use this time to understand the communities concerns and to identify the strategies that will support engagement.