Factors Influencing Vaccine Decision-Making at a Public University: A Descriptive Study


  • Mohamed Elsayyad
  • Tara Mariolis
  • Catherine Buell


Objective: The aim of this research was to examine factors that influenced COVID-19 vaccine decision-making among members of a public university community. Methods: A qualitative descriptive study design was utilized to gather survey data from participants. The themes were divided among two large groups, those who were proponents and those who were opposed to the vaccine. The researchers utilized TAGUETTE software to analyze participants’ responses. The responses were then categorized into common themes, which were based on the overriding essence of the answers. Findings: Three main themes emerged from the group that supported COVID-19 vaccine mandates including: the vaccine was a primary means of mitigating the pandemic and facilitating the return to normal social and economic life; the vaccine would protect the most vulnerable individuals in the population from getting the COVID-19 virus; and the vaccine would likely reduce death rates. For the group against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the three primary themes that emerged included: mandating the vaccine was a breach of personal autonomy; the presence of doubts and mistrust of the vaccine's effectiveness in halting the spread of COVID-19; and concerns about the adverse effects of the vaccine. Discussion: The COVID- 19 pandemic has raised concerns and questions about the ethics of mandating vaccines. The type
and nature of ethical dilemmas are essential to consider when considering the health of the public versus the rights of individuals, especially when mandates are put forth during vaccination initiatives. Conclusions: The results of the study provided a better understanding of factors associated with vaccine decision-making as well as some of the ethical issues persons face when deciding whether to receive the vaccine despite mandates to do so. The researchers suggest adopting an ethical framework to adequately address ethical concerns and questions raised by the public during vaccine mandates. Further, effective communication on the part of legislators, public health officials and nurses may instill trust as people decide whether or not to receive avaccine. Implications for practice: Ethical considerations should be taken into account during COVID-19 vaccine mandates, or at the minimum, be given more weight. Nurses should be transparent about potential ethical concerns, the latest scientific findings concerning vaccines,
and the benefits versus harms of vaccines.