Sex and ethnic origin differences in attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines – results of a survey in Israel
Manfred S Green MBChB,PhD1, Rania Abdullah MD,MPH1, Dorit Nitzan MD,MPH2
1. School of Public Health, University of Haifa,
2. World Health organization, European Region
The study was supported by a grant from the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology Background. The vaccines for COVID-19 are being made available for the public
Aim. To determine the Israeli public’s attitude towards the new vaccines
Methods. At the end of October, 2020, we carried out a national survey of a sample of about 900 adults aged 30 and over, of whom 600 were Jews and 300 were Arabs. The survey was carried out by an internet survey company, using a large panel of potential respondents that they have developed.
Results. Overall, 20.3% of the Jewish respondents and 16.0% of the Arab respondents indicated that they would like the vaccine immediately. When examined by sex and ethnic group, among the men, 27.3% of the Jewish men and 22.8% of the Arab men indicated that they would like to be vaccinated immediately whereas only 13.6% of Jewish women and 12.2% of Arab women replied that would want to be vaccinated immediately. There were marked ethnic differences in the refusal to receive the vaccine under any circumstances. 7.7% of Jewish men replied that they would refuse the vaccine under any circumstances compared with 29.4% of Arab men. Among women, 17.2% of Jewish women and 41.2% of Arab women would refuse the vaccine under any circumstances. A total of 58.6% of Jewish males and 41.2% of Arab males indicated that they would want the vaccine immediately or after thousands had been vaccinated compared with 41.4% of Jewish women and 25.2% of Arab women.
Study limitations. This is not a random sample and is based on internet users. As a result, the educational level is higher than that of the general population. On the other hand the response rate in telephone interviews of random samples is generally quite low and produces significant selection bias. In addition, a major advantage of this type of internet-based survey, compared with telephone surveys, is that the questionnaires are almost all complete and there is no pressure of time for the respondent to understand and complete the questionnaire.
Conclusions. A minority of the population indicated willingness to be among the first to be vaccinated and less than a half would want the vaccine even after thousands had been vaccinated. The percentage was significantly lower in women. A relatively high percentage would refuse the vaccine under any circumstances, particularly in the Arab population, and highest among Arab women.