From intention to action: factors of vaccine hesitancy and vaccine refusal during the COVID-19 pandemic
According to results of the vaccination campaign against COVID-19, Russia has failed to reach indicators of the developed countries on vaccination coverage and is sustainably below the global average. The purpose of this article is to identify and quantify factors of vaccine hesitancy and vaccine refusal in Russia during the following periods: prior to mass vaccination campaign and upon completion of its most active phase. We use data from the two surveys conducted in January-February and November-December, 2021. In the framework of the first survey, the respondents provided answers about their intention to be vaccinated, while in the second – about actual vaccination. In addition to socio-demographic indicators of individuals, factors related to respondents' perception of the disease and vaccine specifics, as well as their attitude towards vaccination in general, have been analyzed. The results indicate that distrust in the COVID-19 vaccine and anti-vaxxer convictions are important factors associated with both the intention to receive a vaccine and realized behavior regarding vaccination. There are significant differences across socio-demographic factors related to the intention to be vaccinated and realized behavior. This demonstrates the need to investigate factors determining behavior regarding vaccination rather than only factors affecting intention to receive a vaccine against COVID-19. The pandemic situation is significantly different from the “normal” one: the vaccination program is accompanied, among other things, by pressure on the population to encourage them to get vaccinated. The effects of this policy on the part of the state are yet to be investigated, a deeper understanding of their effect on vaccination behavior is required.