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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Vaccine hesitancy was described as a major global health challenge by the World Health Organization before the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic (Ten Health Issues WHO Will Tackle This Year, 2019).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the introduction of several new vaccines (notably Pfizer, Moderna, J&J) and with them new vaccine technologies (mRNA) under emergency use authorization (EUA), combined with the political context of these vaccines’ accelerated development, triggered a heightened level of vaccine hesitancy and refusal in the United States and around the world (FDA, 2021).

This paper study undertakes to investigate the foundations and recent evolution of this phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy (and refusal) using a broad, inductive, and interdisciplinary approach with a focus on the role of risk perception and trust in risk/benefit assessment.

(1) In particular, this study considers the issue of risk perception based on both objective and subjective criteria, using the well-known phenomenon of ‘fear of flying’ as a point of reference as well as successful interventions developed to address this common problem (Slovic, 2013).

(2) This study then considers existing vaccine hesitancy interventions against the framework of risk perception and trusted sources (Jarrett et al., 2015).

(3) An additional contribution to knowledge takes the form of a possible model able to offer a credible risk/benefit calculator which could be used as part of such an intervention.

Overall, this research makes a significant contribution to the study of vaccine hesitancy by identifying the complexity of the underlying issues, the inadequacy of current responses, as well as a need for a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to improve both local and global public health policies.


Date Published: 04/25/2022 Assigned ID: 20220425 This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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