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Gender differences in attitudes to vaccination

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

A study by Galasso et al. of vaccination patterns in 10 different countries has identified “a gender paradox” (more). Prior surveys in different countries found that women are typically more concerned about the health consequences of COVID-19 and more likely to follow public health guidance, such as washing hands.

However, findings from this study indicate that women are more hesitant in seeking out vaccination (58% vs 66%), less likely to believe that vaccination is the only solution (69% vs 72%) and more resistant to the imposition of compulsory vaccination (38% vs 44%) – with the percentages in the brackets setting out the percentages for women and men respectively that were in agreement with the policy or statement. A key factor in vaccine skepticism related to the role of large corporations in vaccine development. In a subsequent Crucible, we will explore how the combatorial style of media presentation of claims relating to the vaccines may be affecting people’s trust and perceptions.

All the findings in the study reflect the pooled results across the 10 countries, and it should be noted that the differences between countries were very significant with values on a Vaccine Agreement Index ranging from 47% in France to 76% in the UK.

Figure 2.1 – Gender differences in Vaccine Agreement Index

The study further tested the effect of four different information priming campaigns for the assertion that “the only way to become immune to COVID-19 in the long run is by vaccination. The primings were targeting i) not being infected, ii) not infecting others, iii) protecting healthcare system, iv) protecting the economy. Interestingly, the different primings seem to have had a similar level of impact as each other, but were more effective with men than women.

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