COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the UK: a longitudinal household cross-sectional study

Kausik Chaudhuri, Anindita Chakrabarti, Joht Singh Chandan, Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Background: The approved COVID-19 vaccines have shown great promise in reducing disease transmission and severity of outcomes. However, the success of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is dependent on public acceptance and willingness to be vaccinated. In this study, we aim to examine how the attitude towards public sector officials and the government impact vaccine willingness. The secondary aim is to understand the impact of ethnicity on vaccine-willingness after we explicitly account for trust in public institutions. Methods: This cross-sectional study used data from a UK population based longitudinal household survey (Understanding Society COVID-19 study, Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study) between April 2020-January 2021. Data from 22,421 participants in Waves 6 and 7 of the study were included after excluding missing data. Demographic details in addition to previous survey responses relating to public sector/governmental trust were included as covariates in the main analysis. A logit model was produced to describe the association between public sector/governmental mistrust and the willingness for vaccination with interaction terms included to account for ethnicity/socio-economic status. Results: In support of existing literature, we identified those from BAME groups were more likely to be unwilling to take the COVID-19 vaccine. We found that positive opinions towards public sector officials (OR 2.680: 95% CI 1.888 – 3.805) and the UK government (OR 3.400; 95% CI 2.454—4.712) led to substantive increase in vaccine willingness. Most notably we identified this effect to vary across ethnicity and socio-economic status with those from South Asian background (OR 4.513; 95% CI 1.012—20.123) and possessing a negative attitude towards public officials and the government being the most unwilling to be vaccinated. Conclusions: These findings suggests that trust in public sector officials play a key factor in the low vaccination rates particularly seen in at-risk groups. Given the additional morbidity/mortality risk posed by COVID-19 to those from lower socio-economic or ethnic minority backgrounds, there needs to be urgent public health action to review how to tailor health promotion advice given to these groups and examine methods to improve trust in public sector officials and the government.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).


  • COVID-19
  • Ethnicity
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine hesitancy
  • Minority Groups
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Vaccination
  • United Kingdom
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ethnic and Racial Minorities
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Vaccination Hesitancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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