COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: Attitudes and Effects on Holdouts in a Large Australian University Population

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Many governments and institutions mandated COVID-19 vaccines. In late 2021, we sought to ascertain the perspectives of staff and students from The University of Western Australia about the State or the University mandating COVID-19 vaccines. The survey captured vaccination status and intentions along with attitudes towards mandates and potential types of exemptions with 2878 valid responses which were quantitatively analysed and 2727 which were qualitatively analysed. The study found generally high levels of vaccination or intent, and strong support for mandates, underpinned by beliefs that vaccination is a moral duty and that mandates make campus feel safer. These sentiments were not more prevalent amongst individuals with comorbidities; often healthy individuals supported mandates to reduce their risk of transmitting disease to vulnerable family members. Individuals with comorbidities were, however, more supportive of excluding the unvaccinated from campus. Most opponents were unvaccinated, and many indicated that mandate policies would backfire, making them less likely to vaccinate. Despite the strong overall support, 41% of respondents did not want to see non-compliant staff or students lose their positions, and only 35% actively sought this. Institutions or governments introducing mandates should emphasise community concerns about catching COVID-19 and becoming sick or transmitting the disease to vulnerable loved ones.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10130
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2022


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