COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and resistance: Correlates in a nationally representative longitudinal survey of the Australian population

PLoS One. 2021 Mar 24;16(3):e0248892. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248892. eCollection 2021.


Background: High levels of vaccination coverage in populations will be required even with vaccines that have high levels of effectiveness to prevent and stop outbreaks of coronavirus. The World Health Organisation has suggested that governments take a proactive response to vaccine hesitancy 'hotspots' based on social and behavioural insights.

Methods: Representative longitudinal online survey of over 3000 adults from Australia that examines the demographic, attitudinal, political and social attitudes and COVID-19 health behavior correlates of vaccine hesitance and resistance to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Results: Overall, 59% would definitely get the vaccine, 29% had low levels of hesitancy, 7% had high levels of hesitancy and 6% were resistant. Females, those living in disadvantaged areas, those who reported that risks of COVID-19 was overstated, those who had more populist views and higher levels of religiosity were more likely to be hesitant or resistant while those who had higher levels of household income, those who had higher levels of social distancing, who downloaded the COVID-Safe App, who had more confidence in their state or territory government or confidence in their hospitals, or were more supportive of migration were more likely to intend to get vaccinated.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that vaccine hesitancy, which accounts for a significant proportion of the population can be addressed by public health messaging but for a significant minority of the population with strongly held beliefs, alternative policy measures may well be needed to achieve sufficient vaccination coverage to end the pandemic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health / trends
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaccination Refusal / psychology*
  • Vaccination Refusal / statistics & numerical data


  • COVID-19 Vaccines

Grant support

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) provided financial support for the collection of the August ANUpoll data presented in this paper.