Vaccine refuser data thread

As vaccines roll out, I guess the number of refusers is going to become a pretty hot topic; so I started this thread as a place to log data on (and consequences of) refusal.

As of today I could find no live data describing how many people are refusing vaccination. I did however find a few interesting survey based publications.

Approximately a fifth of people across the world would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine (article based on the the last-linked paper below)


Global, regional, and national estimates of target population sizes for covid-19 vaccination: descriptive study (peer reviewed, BMJ)

The paper states:

Vaccine hesitancy might be another important factor. The result of our meta-analysis (which includes 30 papers) found that 68.4% (95% confidence interval 64.2% to 72.6%) of the [global] population is willing to receive covid-19 vaccination

The raw data, which is presented by country, is actually in supplementary table S1 - see Page 57 of this PDF.

Finally (for now), the paper which the first linked article is referencing:

International estimates of intended uptake and refusal of COVID-19 vaccines: A rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of large nationally representative samples (pre-publication, not yet peer reviewed)

This is the most comprehensive and accessible of the publications - see figures S1 - S3, which report intentions by country over time.

Twenty-eight nationally representative samples (n = 58,656) from 13 countries indicate that as the pandemic has progressed, the percentage of people intending to vaccinate and refuse vaccination have been decreasing and increasing respectively. Pooled data from surveys conducted during June-October suggest that 60% (95% CI: 49% to 69%) intend to vaccinate and 20% (95% CI: 13% to 29%) intend to refuse vaccination, although intentions vary substantially between samples and countries (I2 > 90%). Being female, younger, of lower income or education level and belonging to an ethnic minority group were consistently associated with being less likely to intend to vaccinate.

My bold.

Please feel free to add any data you find (or personal experience, for that matter). BUT I don’t intend this thread to be a forum for debating personal views on vaccination/refusal.


In some places, there are staggering numbers of frontline health care workers who are refusing it.

From the Los Angeles Times:

And from the Ohio Capital Journal:

Yeah, I had seen that but it had slipped my mind. One thing that did occur to me though - how many refusing frontline healthcare workers have had COVID? That might make them think that vaccination was not necessary and that the dose of vaccine could therefore be used on someone who needed it more.

(Side note: in the UK NHS frontline workers are being vaccinated even if they have had COVID, I believe.)


I don’t plan to get it until we know more about its long-term efficacy, and potential side effects. I will not, however, try to talk anyone else out of getting it.

So how long are you willing to wait? 5 years, 10 years? My sister was offered it the very first day it was available, and she initially declined because other doctors in her office were hesitant. That’s what I asked her, and she soon changed her mind.

If 80 percent get vaccinated and 20 percent do not, R will push below 1.0. Then the unvaccinated will get most of the benefit while taking none of the risk.

I have no personal problem with this if none of the vaccine is wasted and it gets to those who want it that much quicker. Is that happening?

It is in the nature of care for medical and dental patients that you can get what they have. If you are brave enough to take on a job with that risk, it seems strange to me that you wouldn’t take the lesser risk of the vaccine.

I’m feeling rather cautious myself. I’m not in a high-priority group anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem for me to hang back and see how it goes. I’m concerned about how rushed testing was, and about my own history of bad reactions to flu shots. Not offering advice to anyone else, just stating my opinion about proper care of my own body.

I remember the whole swine flu fiasco of 1976 (I was 12 years old, but it was something that interested me) and because my parents had a friend who nearly died from Guillain-Barre syndrome about a year earlier, it hit home for them, and that’s why they wouldn’t take that vaccine or give it to us kids.

Like this but in reverse. They’d rather trust bats than Pfizer:

I can’t even begin to understand the thought process. I would say “fire their asses,” but the alternative is a shortage in healthcare workers.

I’m curious to know if vaccine refuser data are similar in other countries or if this is just another case of American “You ain’t the boss uh me” thinking.

Because the intentions for “refusal” vary so much in these meta-studies I kind of wonder if the term “refuser” (as a blanket term) is adequate for what we’re talking about here. Being female, younger, and of less education, for example, could be people who are wary that it might endanger pregnancy, and who, with time, normal social support, and proper public health information will change their mind.

That’s different from the morons who insist that Bill Gates is using the vaccine to change their DNA, and who will probably never change their mind.

Similarly, it’s not clear from the LA Times report how many of these “frontline” healthcare workers are “refusing” the vaccine in the strict sense of the word or if they are jus not immediately taking advantage of it.

Interesting question - sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole. It isn’t uniquely American.

From this BMJ article (BMJ COVID articles are curretly open access):

An Italian doctors association has warned or disciplined 10 medics for promoting anti-vaccination propaganda and is considering sanctions against three others who are accused of downplaying the gravity of covid-19…
…FNOMCEO’s president, Filippo Anelli, told the Italian media that around 100 medics were unwilling to receive the immunisation, adding that vaccine scepticism was “incompatible with the profession because it denied the scientific evidence.”

Unrelated, but also lurking down that rabbit hole, was this:

The fear that vaccine hesitancy may be going mainstream is borne out by the fact that, in our survey, mistrust wasn’t confined to particular groups; on the contrary, it was evident across the population. Hesitancy was slightly higher in young people, women, those on lower income, and people of Black ethnicity, but the size of the associations was very small. So we can’t explain COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy by reference to socio-demographic factors.

My bold. Source was: Oxford Science Blog - COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the UK

I wasn’t expecting that. Looks like I just moved up the vaccination queue by a a million or two.


Why does that matter? Considering the ever spiraling numbers, even if the immunity only lasts a year, isn’t it worth it to bring the numbers and pressure on the medical system down while a more permanent solution is developed?

Yes, this. I am a young-ish and healthy person and I can do my job almost entirely from home. The only other person in my household is my young-ish and healthy-ish husband, who also works from home. Normally, I would gladly get the vaccine as soon as it is made available to my cohort. But, I am currently pregnant. From what I’ve read, the vaccine is not contraindicated for pregnant people, but it also hasn’t been studied in pregnant people. If I were offered it tomorrow, I might well choose to wait until there is more data on how the vaccine impacts pregnancies/pregnant people.

I wouldn’t consider this a “refusal” so much as a luxury to wait due to my relatively low risk for serious complications and low exposure potential. But it might still be considered a “refusal” in one of these meta-studies. If I were, say, a frontline healthcare worker, my risk calculus would probably be different and I’d probably get the vaccine despite the lack of data re: pregnancy.

First of all, congrats!

Second, I was reading about how pregnant women are caught between a rock and a hard place since the CDC says pregnancy does put them at increased risk for severe outcomes if they get COVID, yet there’s a lack of data on the vaccine and pregnancy.

I have a pregnant niece who decided to get vaccinated after her OB said that while we don’t know for sure the effects of the vaccine, we do know the effects of COVID on pregnancy, but I know she (my niece) is still nervous.

It’s such a hard dilemma. I wish we had better data. Good on you for being so cautious, though!

I wonder whether and how much pregnancy rates have changed since the pandemic started?

On one hand folks are spending a lot more time at home, and everyone’s clock keeps ticking. Sex used to be refered to as “the poor people’s opera” for a reason; cheap entertainment readily available to all. Shame about the occasional untoward side effects.

OTOH, if one is generally in the right time and place in life to make a baby, I’d sure think holding off during a raging pandemic might be a smarter move than pressing ahead. Some fraction of folks never plan at all, but folks planning more deliberately ought to be pretty circumspect along about now. Although even among folks planning carefully oopsies still happen.

My impression is that covid has no effect on pregnancy other than what a nonpregnant person need worry about.

This is what makes this so tough for pregnant women. The incidence of severe outcomes is definitely higher, according to the CDC and others. How great a risk is unacceptable?

From the CDC:

Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and death , compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks). [bolding theirs]

From the Mayo Clinic:

The overall risk of COVID-19 to pregnant women is low. However, pregnancy increases the risk for severe illness with COVID-19. Pregnant women who have COVID-19 appear more likely to develop respiratory complications requiring intensive care than women who aren’t pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant women are also more likely to be placed on a ventilator. In addition, pregnant women who are Black or Hispanic appear to be disproportionately affected by infection with the COVID-19 virus.

@nelliebly Thank you! I probably won’t have to end up making the tough decision your niece has, as I’m due in March and unlikely to be offered the vaccine before then anyway. I think my own personal cross to bear will be dealing with anti-vaccine or vaccine-hesitant relatives who want to see my unable-to-be-vaccinated baby. And we don’t even know whether a person who IS vaccinated can still spread COVID. I have a feeling 2021 is going to be another long, difficult year.

@LSLGuy The world isn’t neatly divided into feckless unprotected sex-havers and those who are “planning more deliberately.” My husband and I tried to start our family many years ago. After a few sad mishaps, it appeared very unlikely (though not impossible) that we would be able to conceive without invasive, expensive, medical intervention. Neither of us really wanted to go down that path, so we’ve just been not-trying-not-preventing for a number of years. This pregnancy was very unexpected, though welcome. Obviously, the timing during a terrible worldwide pandemic is not ideal, but I’ll still take it over not being able to have a baby at all. And there are some silver linings, at least for me personally, i.e. working at home in my pajamas through the worst of morning sickness, and easy access to comfy naps.

But brand new babies are sure to be a bright spot! :slight_smile: