Direct and Indirect Associations of Media Use with COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: Cross-sectional Web-Based Survey in South Korea.
Background: The battle against the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has not concluded. Although vaccines are available, the high prevalence of vaccine hesitancy represents a significant challenge to public health and raising vaccine acceptance among the public is critical. While media has become an increasingly popular source of COVID-19 vaccine-related information, the question of whether and how media use is related to the public's vaccine hesitancy warrants exploration.
This study aimed to (1) examine the level of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, (2) identify factors associated with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and (3) explore the direct and indirect relationship between media use and vaccine hesitancy through psychological factors.
A cross-sectional online survey took place over six days (January 20-25, 2021), a month ago before COVID-19 vaccination was initiated in South Korea. This study included 1016 subjects, and a logit model for regression analyzed associations between socio-demographic factors, health-related factors, psychological factors, and media use toward one's COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Additionally, path analysis to examine the indirect effects of media use on vaccine hesitancy via psychological factors (i.e., perceived risk of COVID-19 infection, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers of COVID-19 vaccination) were conducted.
Among the respondents (n=1,016), 53.3% hesitated COVID-19 vaccination, while 46.7% of the respondents would accept the vaccine. Out of the socio-demographic factors, female (OR, 1.967; 95% CI, 1.36-2.86; P < .001), age in 50s (OR, .47; 95% CI, .23-.96; P= .004), and over 60s (OR, .49; 95% CI, .24 - 0.99; P= .04) were significant individual predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Perceived susceptibility of infection (OR, .69; 95% CI, .52 - .91; P= .01) and perceived benefits of vaccination (OR, .69; 95% CI, .52 - .91; P= .01) were associated with lower vaccine hesitancy. Perceived barriers of vaccination (OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.29 - 2.07; P < .001) and lower trust in government (OR, .72; 95% CI, .53 - 0.98; P= .04) were related to vaccine hesitancy. The use of offline and online media was associated with vaccine hesitancy through perceived benefits of vaccination, resulting in a lower vaccine hesitancy. Moreover, perceived susceptibility of the disease and perceived barriers of vaccination mediated the association between social media use and vaccine hesitancy.
Findings revealed a considerable level of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South Korea. Gender-based and generation-based public health policies and communication are recommended. Efforts to lower the perceived risk of vaccine side effects and heighten perceived benefits of the vaccine are required. While the use of media has a positive or negative effect on the population's vaccine hesitancy, efforts should be made to disseminate reliable and timely information on media while confront misinformation or disinformation for successive implementation of vaccine programs during pandemics.
Publication Date: 2021-12-07
Journal: Journal of medical Internet research