skip to main content

Title: Changes in COVID-19 risk perceptions: methods of an internet survey conducted in six countries
Abstract Objectives

This study assessed changes in behaviors/attitudes related to the COVID-19. With the understanding that behaviors and vaccine decision-making could contribute to global spread of infectious diseases, this study collected several waves of internet-based surveys from individuals in the United States, mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. The aims of this study were to (1) characterize the relationship between the epidemiology of disease and changes over time in risk perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes towards hygienic behaviors; (2) examine if risk perceptions affect acceptance of less-than-ideal vaccines; and (3) contrast adherence to public health recommendations across countries which have had different governmental responses to the outbreak.

Data description

We conducted cross-sectional online surveys in six countries from March 2020 to April 2021. By the end of June 2021, there will be six waves of surveys for the United States and China, and four waves for the rest of countries. There are common sets of questions for all countries, however, some questions were adapted to reflect local situations and some questions were designed intentionally for specific countries to capture different COVID-19 mitigation actions. Participants were asked about their adherence towards countermeasures, risk perceptions, and acceptance of a hypothetical vaccine for COVID-19.

; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
BMC Research Notes
Springer Science + Business Media
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 will require high vaccination coverage, but acceptance of the vaccine could be impacted by perceptions of vaccine safety and effectiveness. The aim of this study was to characterize how vaccine safety and effectiveness impact acceptance of a vaccine, and whether this impact varied over time or across socioeconomic and demographic groups. Repeated cross-sectional surveys of an opt-in internet sample were conducted in 2020 in the US, mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India. Individuals were randomized into receiving information about a hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine with different safety and effectiveness profiles (risk of fever 5% vs. 20% and vaccine effectiveness 50% vs. 95%). We examined the effect of the vaccine profile on vaccine acceptance in a logistic regression model, and included interaction terms between vaccine profile and socioeconomic/demographic variables to examine the differences in sensitivity to the vaccine profile. In total, 12,915 participants were enrolled in the six-country study, including the US (4054), China (2797), Taiwan (1278), Malaysia (1497), Indonesia (1527), and India (1762). Across time and countries, respondents had stronger preferences for a safer and more effective vaccine. For example, in the US in November 2020, acceptance was 3.10 times higher for a 95% effectivemore »vaccine with a 5% risk of fever, vs a vaccine 50% effective, with a 20% risk of fever (95% CI: 2.07, 4.63). Across all countries, there was an increase in the effect of the vaccine profile over time (p < 0.0001), with stronger preferences for a more effective and safer vaccine in November 2020 compared to August 2020. Sensitivity to the vaccine profile was also stronger in August compared to November 2020, in younger age groups, among those with lower income; and in those that are vaccine hesitant. Uptake of COVID-19 vaccines could vary in a country based upon effectiveness and availability. Effective communication tools will need to be developed for certain sensitive groups, including young adults, those with lower income, and those more vaccine hesitant.« less
  2. Several COVID-19 vaccines have been on the market since early 2021 and may vary in their effectiveness and safety. This study characterizes hesitancy about accepting COVID-19 vaccines among parents in Shanghai, China, and identifies how sensitive they are to changes in vaccine safety and effectiveness profiles. Schools in each township of Minhang District, Shanghai, were sampled, and parents in the WeChat group of each school were asked to participate in this cross-sectional Internet-based survey. Parents responded to questions about hesitancy and were given information about five different COVID-19 vaccine candidates, the effectiveness of which varied between 50 and 95% and which had a risk of fever as a side effect between 5 and 20%. Overall, 3673 parents responded to the survey. Almost 90% would accept a vaccine for themselves (89.7%), for their child (87.5%) or for an elderly parent (88.5%) with the most ideal attributes (95% effectiveness with 5% risk of fever). But with the least ideal attributes (50% effectiveness and a 20% risk of fever) these numbers dropped to 33.5%, 31.3%, and 31.8%, respectively. Vaccine hesitancy, age at first child’s birth, and relative income were all significantly related to sensitivity to vaccine safety and effectiveness. Parents showed a substantialmore »shift in attitudes towards a vaccine based on its safety and effectiveness profile. These findings indicate that COVID-19 vaccine acceptance may be heavily influenced by how effective the vaccine actually is and could be impeded or enhanced based on vaccines already on the market.« less
  3. Most research on vaccine hesitancy has focused on parental attitudes toward childhood vaccination, but it will be important to understand dimensions of vaccine hesitancy in the adult population as more adult vaccines are introduced in the future. We modified the Vaccine Hesitancy Scale to target adult vaccines and provide measures of its reliability and validity relative to influenza vaccine uptake and COVID-19 vaccination acceptance in cross-sectional internet surveys in the United States and in China. We assessed the impact of vaccine hesitancy on influenza and COVID-19 vaccination using multivariable regression modeling, which informed concurrent validity of the adult Vaccine Hesitancy Scale (aVHS). Among 1103 participants in the March 2020 China survey, 5.4% would not accept a COVID-19 vaccine, whereas this figure was 18.8% for the March 2020 US survey and 27.3% for the June 2020 US survey. The aVHS exhibits good internal consistency in all three surveys. Models adjusted for age, gender and income level show that prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance was a fraction as high in those who scored higher on the VHS than those who scored lower on all three surveys. Prevalence of past and future flu vaccine acceptance was a fraction as high in those withmore »higher aVHS scores than those with lower scores. Prevalence of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is lower in those with higher vaccine hesitancy scores, which supports the scale’s concurrent validity. The aVHS exhibits good internal consistency, making it a valid and reliable tool for measuring vaccination uptake.« less
  4. Abstract

    Does information about how other people feel about COVID-19 vaccination affect immunization intentions? We conducted preregistered survey experiments in Great Britain (5,456 respondents across 3 survey waves from September 2020 to February 2021), Canada (1,315 respondents in February 2021), and the state of New Hampshire in the United States (1,315 respondents in January 2021). The experiments examine the effects of providing accurate public opinion information to people about either public support for COVID-19 vaccination (an injunctive norm) or public beliefs that the issue is contentious. Across all 3 countries, exposure to this information had minimal effects on vaccination intentions even among people who previously held inaccurate beliefs about support for COVID-19 vaccination or its perceived contentiousness. These results suggest that providing information on public opinion about COVID vaccination has limited additional effect on people’s behavioral intentions when public discussion of vaccine uptake and intentions is highly salient.

  5. Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted billions of people around the world. To capture some of these impacts in the United States, we are conducting a nationwide longitudinal survey collecting information about activity and travel-related behaviors and attitudes before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey questions cover a wide range of topics including commuting, daily travel, air travel, working from home, online learning, shopping, and risk perception, along with attitudinal, socioeconomic, and demographic information. The survey is deployed over multiple waves to the same respondents to monitor how behaviors and attitudes evolve over time. Version 1.0 of the survey contains 8,723 responses that are publicly available. This article details the methodology adopted for the collection, cleaning, and processing of the data. In addition, the data are weighted to be representative of national and regional demographics. This survey dataset can aid researchers, policymakers, businesses, and government agencies in understanding both the extent of behavioral shifts and the likelihood that changes in behaviors will persist after COVID-19.