Experts from The University of Western Australia have released the findings of a new study which examines whether there is a link between vaccine hesitancy and trust in government.
Professor David Denemark, Dr Tauel Harper, and Associate Professor Katie Attwell from UWA’s School of Social Sciences, are co-authors of Vaccine hesitancy and trust in government: a cross-national analysis published in the Australian Journal of Political Science.
“Vaccine initiatives have long been the responsibility of national governments and public servants, who coordinate development, distribution and implementation,” Associate Professor Attwell said.
“So vaccine acceptance can be expected not just to reflect people’s thoughts about the vaccines themselves, but also how they feel about governments, since they control almost every aspect of the vaccination programs.”
A 22-country cross-national analysis was used to test whether high levels of citizen trust in governmental civil servants prompted high levels of confidence in vaccine safety, effectiveness and importance.
The study merged two pre-COVID-19 international datasets – one that measured citizen attitudes toward governmental civil servants and the other that measured citizens’ views of vaccines.
The study found citizens’ trust in civil servants was a significant predictor of their confidence in vaccine safety, effectiveness, and importance.
“This study confirms that future analyses of vaccine hesitancy and of citizen support or resistance to vaccination must include individuals’ views of governmental agencies,” Associate Professor Attwell said.
“Another lesson is that it is important for governments to build and maintain people’s trust by acting responsibly, transparently and honestly at all times, so that when they need to ask the public to trust them, the trust is there,” Dr Harper said.
Annelies Gartner (UWA Media Advisor) 08 6488 6876