Citizens from 13 countries share similar preferences for COVID-19 vaccine allocation priorities

PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
September 21, 2021; vol. 118 no. 38
Social Sciences
Open Access
Citizens from 13 countries share similar preferences for COVID-19 vaccine allocation priorities
Raymond Duch, Laurence S. J. Roope, Mara Violato, Matias Fuentes Becerra, Thomas S. Robinson, Jean-Francois Bonnefon, Jorge Friedman, Peter John Loewen, Pavan Mamidi, Alessia Melegaro, Mariana Blanco, Juan Vargas, Julia Seither, Paolo Candio, Ana Gibertoni Cruz, Xinyang Hua, Adrian Barnett, and Philip M. Clarke
PNAS September 21, 2021 118 (38) e2026382118;
How to allocate COVID-19 vaccines is one of the most important decisions currently facing governments. With limited supplies, what is most pressing is deciding who gets priority in the vaccine allocation rollout. Some governments are exploring allowing private purchases of COVID-19 vaccines. Many countries are debating whether COVID-19 vaccines should be mandated. There is little evidence on what policies are preferred by the global public. Our survey of 15,536 adults in 13 countries confirms that priority should be given to health workers and those at high risk but also, to a broad range of key workers and those with lower incomes. The public favors allocating COVID-19 vaccines solely via government programs but was polarized in some countries on mandatory vaccinations.
How does the public want a COVID-19 vaccine to be allocated? We conducted a conjoint experiment asking 15,536 adults in 13 countries to evaluate 248,576 profiles of potential vaccine recipients who varied randomly on five attributes. Our sample includes diverse countries from all continents. The results suggest that in addition to giving priority to health workers and to those at high risk, the public favors giving priority to a broad range of key workers and to those with lower income. These preferences are similar across respondents of different education levels, incomes, and political ideologies, as well as across most surveyed countries. The public favored COVID-19 vaccines being allocated solely via government programs but were highly polarized in some developed countries on whether taking a vaccine should be mandatory. There is a consensus among the public on many aspects of COVID-19 vaccination, which needs to be taken into account when developing and communicating rollout strategies.