COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and political ideation among college students in Central New York: The influence of differential media choice.Prev Med Rep. 2022 Jun; 27:101810.PM
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is context specific and highly dynamic in the United States. The objective of this study was to examine the underlying causes of COVID-19 vaccine use and hesitancy among students at two colleges in Central New York (USA) in order to better understand how to promote vaccination in this demographic. A Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs & Behaviors survey was designed to measure the relationship between gender, political ideology, media consumption, beliefs, mental health and anxiety, and pandemic-related behaviors. The survey was distributed by email to students in April 2021. Of 8,894 eligible respondents, 627 students completed the survey. Structural Equation Modeling was utilized to explore both direct and indirect relationships. Modeling suggests that the effect of political ideology (being more conservative) is to promote the consumption of right wing news, which in turn tends to increase vaccine hesitancy. Conservative political ideology does not directly lead to vaccine hesitancy, but it does encourage the consumption of news from sources that promote fear and hesitation about the vaccines. News sources significantly contribute to vaccine attitudes among this demographic.