Motivations to Vaccinate Among Hesitant Adopters of the COVID-19 Vaccine

J Community Health. 2022 Apr;47(2):237-245. doi: 10.1007/s10900-021-01037-5. Epub 2021 Oct 23.


Vaccination is a critical means for mitigating the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States (US). However, the initial high demand for COVID-19 vaccines has not persisted, and the rate of vaccination slowed significantly in the summer of 2021. This study seeks to understand the motivations to receive the COVID-19 vaccine among hesitant adopters. Hesitant adopters are individuals who express some level of hesitancy about the vaccine but have also received at least one dose of the vaccine. Using a qualitative descriptive design, three loci for motivation emerged during analysis: extrinsic motivators, intrinsic motivators, and structural motivators. Extrinsic motivations, such as protecting one's community, family, and friends, were reported as driving vaccination behavior. Among intrinsic motivators, the desire to protect themselves from COVID-19 was the most frequently reported. Structural motivators were also identified, indicating that vaccine mandates also serve to motivate hesitant adopters of the COVID-19 vaccine. These findings have important implications in ongoing efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the US and highlight the multi-dimensional motivations for vaccination among hesitant adopters. Additionally, we provide recommendations for practice based on our findings.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccines; Health behavior; Hesitant adopters; Vaccine hesitancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines* / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States
  • Vaccination


  • COVID-19 Vaccines