Converting the maybes: Crucial for a successful COVID-19 vaccination strategy

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Background Broad community acceptance of a COVID-19 vaccination will be critical for effectively halting the spread of the virus. In this study, we focus on factors that differentiate those who are undecided from those who are either willing or unwilling to accept a prospective COVID-19 vaccine. Methods An online survey in May 2020 assessed Australian adults’ willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (yes, maybe, no). A multinomial logistical regression of responses (N = 1,313) was used to identify correlates of vaccine willingness between the three groups. Results 65% were willing to vaccinate, with 27% being in the ‘maybe’ category. Respondents were more likely to be in the ‘maybe’ than the ‘yes’ group when they perceived COVID-19 to be less severe, had less trust in science, were less willing to vaccinate for influenza, and were female. They were more likely to be in the ‘maybe’ than ‘no’ group when they perceived COVID-19 as severe, and less likely to be a hoax, had more trust in science, and greater willingness to vaccinate for influenza. A repeat of the survey in November 2020 with a subset of participants found fewer of them saying yes to the vaccine (56%) and more saying maybe (31%). Conclusions The effectiveness of any COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be reliant on maximizing uptake. The significant number of people who remain undecided about whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, despite the ongoing devastating consequences of the virus for individuals, communities, and economies, is concerning. Our findings aid current research seeking to inform policy regarding how to convince the undecided to vaccinate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0245907
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1 January
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


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