Psychological, social, and situational factors associated with COVID-19 vaccination intentions: A study of UK key workers and non-key workers

Sarah Butter, Emily McGlinchey, Emma Berry, Cherie Armour

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39 Citations (Scopus)
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Vaccine hesitancy is a growing concern and threat to public health. This research will begin to examine the relative influence of relevant psychological, social, and situational factors on intent to engage with a hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine among key workers and non-key workers.


The study utilized a sample of UK adults who completed the 1-month follow-up of The COVID-19 Psychological Wellbeing Study during April/May 2020 and indicated having not been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 (key workers n = 584; not key workers n = 1,021). These groups were compared in relation to their intentions to vaccinate, perceived risk of infection, and symptom severity. Binary logistic regression was used to examine predictors of vaccine hesitancy.

Overall, 74.2% of the sample (76.2% key workers, 73.1% non-key workers) indicated they would accept a COVID-19 vaccine in future. Key workers (in particular health and social care workers) had a higher perceived risk of becoming infected in the coming months. For key workers, being female and perceiving oneself as having relatively low infection risk in the next 6 months was associated with increased likelihood of vaccine hesitancy. For non-key workers, however, being aged 25–54, having a low or average income and not knowing someone diagnosed with COVID-19 were associated with hesitancy.

The proportion of individuals willing to accept a vaccine is encouraging but there is much room for improvement. Given the unique predictors of vaccine hesitancy in each group, public health campaigns may benefit from targeted messaging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-29
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date5 May 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. British Journal of Health Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society.


  • Adult
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United Kingdom
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccination Hesitancy
  • symptom severity
  • coronavirus
  • hesitancy
  • perceived risk
  • vaccine
  • health behaviours


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