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Title: Assessing the impact of novelty and conformity on hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccines using mRNA technology
Authors: Ching Leong
Lawrence Jin 
Dayoung Kim
Jeongbin Kim 
Yik Ying Teo 
Teck-Hua Ho 
Issue Date: 29-May-2022
Publisher: Communications Medicine
Citation: Ching Leong, Lawrence Jin, Dayoung Kim, Jeongbin Kim, Yik Ying Teo, Teck-Hua Ho (2022-05-29). Assessing the impact of novelty and conformity on hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccines using mRNA technology 2. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Abstract: Background Public hesitancy towards Covid-19 vaccines remains a major hurdle for mass vaccination programs today. While mRNA vaccines are more efficacious than conventional vaccines, it is unknown how much the novelty of this technology increases hesitancy. Methods We quantify this “novelty penalty” in a large online experiment with 35,173 adults in nine countries. Subjects were randomly selected and assigned to one of two vaccine groups (conventional or mRNA), and one of five hypothetical inoculation rate groups (0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, or 80%). Subjects reported their willingness to accept the Covid-19 vaccine on a five-point Likert scale. Results The novelty of the mRNA vaccine technology reduces the odds of a higher level of vaccine acceptance by 14.2% (odds ratio 0.858; p < 0.001). On the other hand, we find that social conformity reduces vaccine hesitancy. At a 0% inoculation rate, 31.7% report that they are “very likely” to get a mRNA vaccine while at a 20% inoculation rate, willingness jumps to 49.6%. Conclusions The novelty of the mRNA vaccine increases hesitancy, but social conformity reduces it. A small group of early adopters can provide momentum for vaccination.
DOI: 10.1038/s43856-022-00123-6
Rights: Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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