Political views and science literacy as indicators of vaccine confidence and COVID-19 concern

Alessandro Siani, Isabelle Carter, Florence Moulton

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Introduction - The distrust, delay and refusal of vaccinations represent serious threats to global public health. As demonstrated by the dramatic worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, adequate vaccine coverage against infectious diseases is essential towards the preservation and function of virtually every aspect of our society. While the determinants of vaccine hesitancy and pandemic concern have been widely investigated, conflicting evidence exists with regards to their association with education levels and political views.

Methods - This study aimed to investigate whether science literacy levels and standpoint on social and economic matters are associated with different levels of vaccine confidence and COVID-19 concern. An online survey was circulated amongst participants recruited via convenience sampling, and data were analysed using non-parametric statistical tests.

Results - The survey (n = 389) highlighted that participants who studied Science at General Certificate of Secondary Education level have a lower vaccine confidence than those with both lower and higher levels of science education. Participants with neutral/centrist political views expressed lower confidence than those with a libertarian social stance or a left-wing economic stance. A higher concern with the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with lower levels of science education, libertarian social views, and left-wing economic views.

Conclusions - The present study provides novel insight on the educational and political factors associated with vaccine hesitancy and pandemic concern within a British population sample.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E257-E269
JournalJournal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2022


  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Science literacy
  • Political views
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic concern


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