How to boost the boosters? A survey-experiment on the effectiveness of different policies aimed at enhancing acceptance of a “Seasonal” vaccination against COVID-19

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Abstract

Background: Evidence suggests a gradual decrease in the effectiveness of the anti-COVID-19 vaccines, stressing the potential need for periodical booster shots. However, it is hard to tell whether previously applied policies for enhancing vaccine acceptance will be as effective for repeated periodical booster shots during a pandemic. Hence, this study aims to explore the effectiveness of different health policies on periodical vaccination acceptance amidst an ongoing pandemic. Methods: A cross sectional online experiment was performed in a representative sample of 929 Israeli citizens. Participants were randomly allocated to 4 groups simulating different hypothetical periodical-vaccination-promoting policy scenarios: (1) Mandate (N = 229); (2) a negative monetary incentive (N = 244); (3) a positive monetary incentive (N = 228) and (4) information provision (N = 228). Compliance intentions and vaccine-acceptance-related variables were measured. Analysis included multivariate hierarchic logistic and linear regressions. Results: Compliance intentions levels were medium (M = 3.13 on a 1–5 scale). Only 20.2% of the sample demonstrated strong acceptance of periodical vaccination, which is lower than the acceptance rate of the seasonal flu shot in the country in the year preceding the pandemic. Type of policy was related to the extent to which a respondent strongly agreed to be periodically vaccinated or not. Specifically, strong acceptance was more likely when positive or negative incentives were presented in comparison to the mandate or information provision conditions. However, when examining the extent of compliance among respondents who were less decisive, the type of policy did not predict the extent to which these respondents intended to comply. In addition, compliance intentions were related with the perceived benefits and barriers of the vaccine, the perceived efficacy of getting vaccinated and social norms. Hesitator’s intentions were additionally associated with anti-COVID-19 vaccination history, perceived severity of the disease and trust in government. Conclusions: Pandemic-containing vaccines may be perceived as less effective and beneficial than pandemic-preventing vaccines. Individuals with different levels of motivation for periodical vaccination during a pandemic may be affected by different factors. While strongly opinionated individuals are affected by the type of vaccination-promoting policy, hesitators are affected by a larger number of factors, which provide policy makers with greater opportunities to enhance their vaccination intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by The Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research; Grant #2020/400R.

Funding Information:
This study was supported by IDIT—PhD Program for Outstanding Social Sciences Researchers, The Herta & Paul Amir Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Haifa.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Incentives
  • On-going pandemic
  • Periodical vaccination
  • Vaccination acceptance
  • Vaccination policies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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