Public uncertainties in relation to COVID-19 vaccines in the United Kingdom

Rusi Jaspal, Glynis M. Breakwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Uncertainties about COVID-19 vaccines and variants have been linked to vaccination refusal on a significant scale. To optimise public health communication on vaccination and inform vaccination policy, it is necessary to understand the substantive nature of these uncertainties. Our study, using a corpus of texts from 324 UK citizens, examines these uncer- tainties. The results suggest that major public uncertainties regarding COVID-19 vaccines are expressed in terms of: (1) concerns about the safety of the vaccines; (2) concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccines; (3) perceived lack of trustworthiness and/or competence of actors in the vaccination process; (4) concerns about the logistics of the vaccination roll-out; and (5) uncertainty about the longer-term need for vaccines and social consequences. Public uncertainties regarding COVID-19 are complex and will continue to evolve. Policy responses must be informed by an understanding of the factors that instigate and maintain uncertainties in individuals and the wider society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-82
JournalJournal of the British Academy
Issue numbers5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2023


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