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Did you know that the ISS investigates the willingness to vaccinate against COVID 19 in Germany?

June 2021

ISS researchers Daniel Seddig, Dina Maskileyson, and Eldad Davidov and their colleagues Peter Schmidt (University of Gießen) and Icek Ajzen (University of Massachusetts Amherst) surveyed 5,044 citizens between the ages of 18 and 74 in the second half of April 2021 in Germany. The project "Vaccination intentions in the COVID19 pandemic: values, institutional trust, and planned behavior" is scheduled to run until 2022 and is funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

A report provides information about the attitudes, intentions and concerns of citizens about a vaccination against COVID19. According to the study, the highest willingness to vaccinate was found for people over age 60 (70%). For people of ages 30 to 59 it is 58%. Among those under 30 years of age, only a relatively small majority show a high willingness to be vaccinated (52%).

As expected, the general attitude towards vaccination, which is strongly influenced by the social environment of the respondents, has a major influence on the intention to vaccinate. The more people associate positive consequences and benefits with a vaccination, the stronger their intention to get vaccinated. In addition, 63% said that they believe that people close to them would find it “very good” if they would be vaccinated. 54% even estimated that people in their social environment would “expect” them to get a vaccination.

With regard to the discussion about easing anti-corona measures for vaccinated people, the study highlights incentives that would increase the intention to vaccinate. The strongest incentives - especially in the group people under age 30 - are “going on vacation”, “going to bars, cafes and restaurants” as well as the opportunity to visit sports facilities such as fitness studios. On the other hand, cultural events (concerts, theater or museum), attending sporting events, shopping tours or going to clubs and discos are less attractive.

The study also looked at trust in the vaccines. Most of the respondents trust Biontech / Pfizer (73%) and Moderna (62%). Just under a third (32%) trust Johnson and Johnson, while trust in the AstraZeneca vaccine seems to be even more shaken (26%). The picture is similar when it comes to the willingness to be vaccinated with one of these vaccines.

In addition, the results are mixed with regard to trust in political institutions and science. Few people trust “the politicians” (22%), the European Union (26%), the federal government (36%), or public media (37%). In contrast, trust in scientific institutions - including doctors - is significantly higher. Two-thirds (66%) trust “science” and doctors and medical professionals (73%). The RKI (Robert Koch Institute) also enjoys the trust of a large majority (61%).

High levels of mistrust go hand in hand with an increase in conspiracy beliefs. Although only very few respondents agreed with conspiracy assumptions regarding COVID-19, more general conspiracy beliefs achieve higher approval ratings, for example the statement “Events that do not seem to be related at first glance are often the result of secret activities” (31% ) or “There are secret organizations that have a great influence on political decisions” (39%). Beliefs in such conspiracy scenarios can also be associated with a lower willingness to vaccinate.