Back Back

Psychologists investigate the biggest influencers in Covid vaccine uptake


Researchers at the University of Wolverhampton have been exploring the reasons that influenced people across the UK to have the vaccination against COVID-19.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt worldwide. Global attempts to control the spread of the virus have included imposing restrictions on behaviour with the hope of returning to normality in the United Kingdom by focusing on vaccinating the population.

The vaccination aims to protect not only the individual but also others, either directly (by reducing transmission) or indirectly (via herd immunity). Nonetheless, vaccine uptake depends on a variety of factors and has been shown to be highly variable across different vaccines.

It has been estimated that to achieve herd immunity, approximately 80 per cent of the population would need to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to reduce the spread of the disease. Therefore, it is imperative that empirical research is conducted to examine ongoing factors that contribute to vaccine uptake.

Dr Claire Jones and Dr Manpal Singh Bhogal, Senior Lecturers in Psychology and PhD student, Anthony Byrne in the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing at the University, carried out a study to investigate motivations for vaccine uptake in the United Kingdom and whether factors such as altruism contribute to this decision.

Around 200 voluntary participants answered questions on perceived threat and the likelihood of infection, vaccination status, and opinion on mandatory vaccination. Participants also rated a set of statements that asked how likely these would influence them and others to vaccinate against COVID-19.

Just more than half of the participants (50.8%) reported the likelihood of infection as somewhat or extremely likely, and almost three-fourths (74.2%) reported that COVID-19 posed a minor or moderate threat to their physical health. Almost three-fourths (74.3%) were vaccinated, with just more than half (56.2%) in favour of mandatory vaccination.

Results also showed that kin-altruistic reasons were rated most highly, regardless of whether this was regarding themselves or others.

Dr Claire Jones, Project Lead said: “This is important research showing us the reasons why people vaccinate against viruses such as COVID-19. It is our hope that these findings can better inform public health messages in relation to motivating people to engage in vaccine uptake.”

The research shows highlighting the benefits of vaccination for close relatives and vulnerable others in the population would be a useful strategy for government to use when urging the public to vaccinate against COVID-19.

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

Share this release

Related Stories