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Understanding hesitancy with revealed preferences across COVID-19 vaccine types

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Many countries have secured larger quantities of COVID-19 vaccines than their populace is willing to take. This abundance and variety of vaccines created a historical moment to understand vaccine hesitancy better. Never before were more types of vaccines available for an illness and the intensity of vaccine-related public discourse is unprecedented. Yet, the heterogeneity of hesitancy by vaccine types in certain segments of society has been neglected so far, even though factual or believed vaccine characteristics and patient attributes are known to influence acceptance. In this paper, we address this problem by analysing acceptance and assessment of five vaccine types using information collected with a nationally representative survey (N=1000) at the end of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary, where a unique portfolio of vaccines were available to the public in large quantities. Our special case enables us to quantify revealed preferences across vaccine types since one could evaluate a vaccine unacceptable and even could reject an assigned vaccine to wait for another type. We find that the source of information that respondents trust characterizes their attitudes towards vaccine types differently and leads to divergent vaccine hesitancy. Believers of conspiracy theories were significantly more likely to evaluate the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) unacceptable while those who follow the advice of politicians evaluate vector-based (AstraZeneca and Sputnik) or whole-virus vaccines (Sinopharm) acceptable with higher likelihood. We illustrate that the rejection of non-desired and re-selection of preferred vaccines fragments the population by the mRNA versus other type of vaccines while it generally improves the assessment of the received vaccine. These results highlight that greater variance of available vaccine types and individual free choice are desirable conditions that can widen the acceptance of vaccines in societies.

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2024

Máj

24

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V

29

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