Objective: to answer the question: Why do people consent to being vaccinated with novel vaccines against SARS-CoV2?
Design: Representative survey
Setting: Online panel
Participants: 1032 respondents of the general German population
Method: a representative survey among German citizens in November/December 2021 which resulted in 1032 complete responses on vaccination status, socio-demographic parameters and opinions about the COVID-19 situation.
Results: Almost 83% of the respondents were vaccinated. The major motivation was fear of medical consequences of an infection and the wish to lead a normal life again. The major motivation to be not vaccinated was the fear of side effects and skepticism about long-term effectiveness and safety. Sixteen percent of vaccinated respondents reported some serious side effect, while more than 30% reported health improvements, mostly due to the relief of psychological stress and social reintegration. We also validated a “Corona Orthodoxy Score – COS” consisting of 7 items reflecting opinions on Covid-19. The scale is reliable (alpha = 0.76) and unidimensional. The COS was a highly significant predictor of vaccination status and readiness to be vaccinated in a multivariable logistic regression model. Those who were vaccinated were more likely to live in smaller households (OR = 0.82, p=0.024), had a higher income (OR = 1.27, p<0.001), a higher COS score (OR 1.4, p<0.0001) and utilized less alternative media (OR = 0.44, p=0.0024) and scientific publications (OR=0.42, p=0.011) as information sources.
Conclusions: The major motives for being vaccinated are fear of medical symptoms and the wish to lead a normal life. Those not wanting to be vaccinated cite a lack of knowledge regarding long-term safety and side effects as reasons. This can likely only be overcome by careful and active long-term efficacy and safety monitoring.