Psychological characteristics associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and resistance in Ireland and the United Kingdom

Nat Commun. 2021 Jan 4;12(1):29. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20226-9.


Identifying and understanding COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy within distinct populations may aid future public health messaging. Using nationally representative data from the general adult populations of Ireland (N = 1041) and the United Kingdom (UK; N = 2025), we found that vaccine hesitancy/resistance was evident for 35% and 31% of these populations respectively. Vaccine hesitant/resistant respondents in Ireland and the UK differed on a number of sociodemographic and health-related variables but were similar across a broad array of psychological constructs. In both populations, those resistant to a COVID-19 vaccine were less likely to obtain information about the pandemic from traditional and authoritative sources and had similar levels of mistrust in these sources compared to vaccine accepting respondents. Given the geographical proximity and socio-economic similarity of the populations studied, it is not possible to generalize findings to other populations, however, the methodology employed here may be useful to those wishing to understand COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy elsewhere.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Vaccination / psychology*
  • Vaccination Refusal / ethnology
  • Vaccination Refusal / psychology
  • Vaccination Refusal / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • COVID-19 Vaccines