BYU Study: What’s affecting people’s willingness to get a coronavirus vaccine

Oct 13, 2020, 3:45 PM
coronavirus vaccine...
FILE - In this March 16, 2020, file photo, a subject receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine by Moderna for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. According to results released on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, early-stage testing showed the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. revved up people’s immune systems the way scientists had hoped. The vaccine is made by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

PROVO — New research from BYU looks at whether or not people will get a vaccine for the coronavirus, and what may be standing in their way.

“It is critical that we understand the potential barriers to vaccine uptake prior to the release of a COVID vaccine,”  Jamie Jensen, a BYU professor of biology and study co-author.

“By understanding these barriers, we can design publicity strategies that will speak directly to the potential issues and hopefully get out ahead of any public dissent. With a vaccine being the most powerful weapon we have to end this global pandemic, the knowledge from this study is absolutely critical.” 

As part of their study, researchers found there were two major issues surrounding people’s willingness to receive a vaccine. The first was a personal hesitancy or mistrust of vaccines in general, and the second was how that individual saw the vaccine’s potential for potentially ending the pandemic’s effects. 

Messaging and education ahead of a coronavirus vaccine

Dr. Brian Poole, associate professor in BYU’s microbiology and molecular biology department says those are both things that are important to understand when informing the public about a potential COVID-19 vaccine and vaccines in general.

To the first point, Poole says that it makes sense that someone who is skeptical about vaccines in general would be skeptical about a vaccine for the coronavirus. 

“That doesn’t sound really revelatory, but that was the largest thing that popped out in the analysis. And what that tells us, I think, is that we can’t just talk about the covid vaccine and we need to talk about all vaccines and do a better job about educating about vaccine safety in general,” he said.

His second big takeaway from the study was how helpful people saw the vaccine as potentially ending all of the pandemic’s effects.

“The more people felt that the virus was damaging America, the more they felt it was a large American problem, the more likely they were to get vaccinated,” said Poole. “And what that shows us, is that people are willing to do something if they think it will help the country.”

Throughout the study, researchers did not find any political ideologies connected to vaccine willingness or unwillingness.

The study also asked about the length and type of vaccine trials.

Poole said when given a choice, more people said they were willing to get a vaccine in the next 6 months than in the next 30 days.

“Timing is important. The longer the testing goes on, the longer people have confidence in the vaccine,” he continued.

This week a second vaccine trial was paused after an unexplained illness appeared in one of the participants while hundreds continue. Poole said the public can feel confident in watching science unfold right now because the final vaccine will have gone through this rigorous testing process.

Today’s Top Stories


FILE - This undated photo provided by Merck & Co. shows their new antiviral medication molnupir...
MATTHEW PERRONE, Associated Press Health Writer

US adds second COVID-19 pill, this time from Merck

U.S. health regulators on Thursday authorized the second pill against COVID-19, providing another easy-to-use medication to battle the rising tide of omicron infections.
5 months ago
new COVID pills...
MATTHEW PERRONE Associated Press

Pfizer pill becomes 1st US-authorized home COVID treatment

U.S. health regulators authorized the first pill against COVID-19, a Pfizer drug that Americans will be able to take at home to head off the worst effects of the virus.
5 months ago
covid pill...
Curt Gresseth

Utah doctor weighs in on new COVID-19 pill you can take at home

A University of Utah doctor specializing in infectious diseases weighs the pros and cons on a new pill taken at home to treat coronavirus.
5 months ago
covid utah...
Paul Nelson

As omicron variant spreads, Utahns urged to get vaccine booster shots

With the spread of the omicron variant, Utahns are being urged to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot
6 months ago
COVID vaccination rates...
Heather Kelly

Utah is below the national average for COVID vaccination rates, here’s why

Utah is below the national average for COVID vaccination rates. High numbers of children in Utah are likely skewing the data. Officials encourage vaccination.
6 months ago
utah covid children...
Paul Nelson

Researchers believe ‘omicron’ variant will be in Utah, sooner or later

The Omicron variant doesn't have officials saying we should cancel Christmas plans, but masks and social distancing are still recommended.
6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
BYU Study: What’s affecting people’s willingness to get a coronavirus vaccine