COVID-19 and Vaccine Hesitancy

Glynis M. Breakwell, Rusi Jaspal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


In response to the outbreak of COVID-19 and its subsequent designation as a pandemic, vaccines against the virus were developed and gradually rolled out throughout the world (WHO, 2022). This article focuses upon the emergence of vaccine hesitancy and the likelihood of vaccination, specifically in the context of COVID-19. It is shown that vaccine hesitancy is not a new phenomenon but rather has been manifested to varying degrees since the advent of variolation in Europe in the 18th century. It is within this historical context that the concept of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy should be regarded. The concept of vaccine hesitancy, introduced in order to understand why some people might potentially reject vaccines with the capacity to prevent or reduce the risk of preventable infection, is examined through a social psychological lens. Given its complexity and the inconsistent relationship between attitudes (e.g., vaccination hesitancy) and behavior (e.g., the likelihood that one will actually get vaccinated) (Marcinkowski & Reid, 2019), it is argued that a focus on vaccination likelihood (as a more reliable indicator of whether or not people will get vaccinated) is especially valuable (see Breakwell, Fino & Jaspal, 2021). Vaccination likelihood emerges as a result of many factors operating at distinct levels of analysis. Accordingly, a social psychological model of vaccine likelihood is presented that can enable both researchers and policymakers to understand its determinants.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society
EditorsW.C. Cockerham, J Gabe, S Quah, J.M. Ryan
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Not yet published


Dive into the research topics of 'COVID-19 and Vaccine Hesitancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this