Vaccine hesitancy among health-care professionals in the era of COVID-19

Hagar Z. Pikkel Geva*, Harel Gershgoren, Dana Nir, Maram Khazen, Adam J. Rose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Health-care professionals (HCPs) are key trusted figures in addressing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) challenges. They are thought to influence others' health decisions by personal example. However, during the COVID-19 crisis, some HCPs hesitated to be vaccinated. We examined factors contributing to that decision. We performed 12 semi-structured interviews, between February and May 2021, with Israeli HCPs who had declined or delayed COVID-19 vaccination. Three coders conducted a combined top-down and bottom-up analysis. We identified four main themes shaping vaccine decision-making: (i) sources of information, (ii) perceptions of necessity and risks of the vaccine, (iii) individual versus collective responsibility and (iv) political climate and media influence. Participants were worried about long-term effectiveness and safety, and while many agreed that high-risk populations should be vaccinated, all considered themselves to be at low risk for serious disease. Some felt they should avoid taking a perceived risk (accepting a new vaccine) to protect society, although they felt pressured to do so. Vaccination campaign politization and the way the media approached the subject also contributed to mistrust and hesitancy to be vaccinated. These findings help us understand HCP beliefs and uncertainties about COVID-19 vaccinations. This study can help inform future campaigns targeted at HCPs to promote the acceptance of vaccines.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)193-203
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Education Research
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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