Exploring the Association between Misinformation Endorsement, Opinions on the Government Response, Risk Perception, and COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the US, Canada, and Italy

Vaccines (Basel). 2022 Apr 23;10(5):671. doi: 10.3390/vaccines10050671.


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the adverse consequences created by an infodemic, specifically bringing attention to compliance with public health guidance and vaccine uptake. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is a complex construct that is related to health beliefs, misinformation exposure, and perceptions of governmental institutions. This study draws on theoretical models and current data on the COVID-19 infodemic to explore the association between the perceived risk of COVID-19, level of misinformation endorsement, and opinions about the government response on vaccine uptake. We surveyed a sample of 2697 respondents from the US, Canada, and Italy using a mobile platform between 21-28 May 2021. Using multivariate regression, we found that country of residence, risk perception of contracting and spreading COVID-19, perception of government response and transparency, and misinformation endorsement were associated with the odds of vaccine hesitancy. Higher perceived risk was associated with lower odds of hesitancy, while lower perceptions of government response and higher misinformation endorsement were associated with higher hesitancy.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy; communication; government actions; misinformation.