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Media usage predicts intention to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 in the US and the UK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2595-2603
Number of pages9
JournalVaccine
Volume39
Issue number18
DOIs
Accepted/In press23 Feb 2021
Published28 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, ES/V015494/1. Data for studies 1-3 were provided to the researchers free of charge by the Center for Countering Digital Hate. Data collection for study 4 was funded by King's College London and the Health Protection Research Unit for Emergency Preparedness and Response at the National Institute for Health Research. Funding Information: This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, ES/V015494/1. Data for studies 1-3 were provided to the researchers free of charge by the Center for Countering Digital Hate. Data collection for study 4 was funded by King's College London and the Health Protection Research Unit for Emergency Preparedness and Response at the National Institute for Health Research. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors

Abstract

There is existing evidence of a relationship between media use and vaccine hesitancy. Four online questionnaires were completed by general population samples from the US and the UK in June 2020 (N = 1198, N = 3890, N = 1663, N = 2237). After controls, all four studies found a positive association between intention to be vaccinated and usage of broadcast and print media. The three studies which operationalised media usage in terms of frequency found no effect for social media. However, the study which operationalised media use in terms of informational reliance found a negative effect for social media. Youth, low household income, female gender, below degree-level of education, and membership of other than white ethnic groups were each also found to be associated with lower intentions to be vaccinated in at least two of the four studies. In all four studies, intention to be vaccinated was positively associated with having voted either for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential elections or for Labour Party candidates in the 2019 UK general election. Neither of the UK studies found an association with having voted for Conservative Party candidates, but both US studies found a negative association between intention to be vaccinated and having voted for Donald Trump. The consistent finding of greater intention to be vaccinated among users of legacy media but not among users of social media suggests that social media do not currently provide an adequate replacement for legacy media, at least in terms of public health communication. The finding of a negative association with social media in the study which measured informational reliance rather than frequency is consistent with the view that uncritical consumption of social media may be acting to promote vaccine hesitancy.

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