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A survey of U.S. adults showed that as local case counts of a hypothetical disease increased–indicating increased risk of infection–the proportion of people willing to receive a vaccine for the disease also increased. Bert Baumgaertner of the University of Idaho, Moscow, United States and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine.
People may be hesitant to receive a vaccine for several reasons, such as lack of confidence in the vaccine, lack of convenient access to the vaccine, or low perceived risk of contracting the disease. A better understanding of these reasons could aid efforts to mitigate disease spread. However, links between vaccine hesitancy and perceived risk of disease have been unclear.
Now, Baumgaertner and colleagues investigate the concept of vaccine propensity: how willing a person is to vaccinate according to their perceived risk of infection, assuming vaccine confidence and convenience remain unchanged. In 2018, the researchers explored vaccine propensity with an online survey that presented hypothetical disease scenarios to about 2,500 U.S. adults and asked how high their local community’s case count would need to be before they would be willing to vaccinate.
The survey results showed that a greater number of local cases (indicating greater risk) …
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