Motives for Vaccination Against COVID-19 Among the Ultra-orthodox Jewish Community in Israel

Miriam Schiff*, Nitzan Sharon-Lavi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

According to official data, the ultra-Orthodox group in Israel had the highest COVID-19 infection rate yet the lowest vaccination rate compared to the general population. The present study aimed to explore the rate of vaccine uptake as well as reported reasons for vaccine avoidance. In addition, we examined whether several protection motivation theory (PMT) components are good predictors of vaccine uptake. The components we addressed were: perceived susceptibility to the threat of COVID-19, perceived severity of the virus, and perceived efficiency and safety of the vaccine (i.e., response efficacy). The sample included 623 individuals (337 men) aged 18 + who were drawn from a database of a survey company specializing in the ultra-Orthodox community. We conducted a cross-sectional online survey between June 22, 2021, and July 7, 2021, approximately six months after the beginning of vaccination distribution. Results revealed that 65.8% of the participants (versus 89% of the general population) were vaccinated. Women were vaccinated at lower rates than men, whereas those in the Misnagdim ultra-Orthodox subgroup were vaccinated at higher rates than other subgroups in that community. The most prominent reasons for vaccine avoidance were perceived immunity based on prior infection by the virus and lack of trust in the vaccine’s safety. In support of the PMT model, the perceived severity of the virus and the vaccine high efficacy were significant predictors of vaccine uptake. The study results call for better outreach to this community and specific psycho-education interventions tailored for its women.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Gender differences
  • Protection motivation theory (PMT)
  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews
  • Vaccine uptake

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