COVID-19 vaccine uptake and hesitancy survey in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland: Applying the theory of planned behaviour

Gavin Breslin, Martin Dempster, Emma Berry, Matthew Cavanagh, Nicola C Armstrong

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The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) first appeared in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and since then has caused unprecedented economic and social disruption as well as presenting a major challenge to public health. Despite mass progress in COVID-19 vaccination uptake, vaccine hesitancy or anti-vax information has been reported that can delay public acceptance of a vaccine. An online cross-sectional survey (n = 439) assessed COVID-19 vaccine uptake and hesitancy in adults in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Participants completed an adapted version of the Theory of Planned Behaviour Vaccine Questionnaire, the Vaccine Attitudes Scale (VAX), Vaccine Confidence Scale, and questions on previous experience of COVID-19. Results showed that 66.7% of the sample intended to get a vaccination as soon as possible, 27.15% reported they will get a vaccine when others get theirs and when it is clear there are no side effects. 6.15% had no intention of getting a vaccine. Overall, there is a high mean intention (M = 6.12) and confidence to get a COVID-19 vaccine. There was low vaccine hesitancy (M = 2.49) as measured by the VAX scale. A further analysis of the sub factors of the VAX showed there is uncertainty and mistrust of side effects for children. The finding demonstrate that the Theory of Planned Behaviour can be useful in making recommendations for public health considerations when encouraging vaccine uptake and reducing vaccine hesitancy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0259381
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Early online date17 Nov 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 17 Nov 2021


  • Male
  • Adult
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Northern Ireland
  • Vaccination
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans


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