The CIS Faculty Commons on Health inequities and the proposed Department of Environment, Sustainability, and Health Equity (ESHE) invites you to a Research Brown Bag featuring Kim Yi Dionne, PhD, Associated Professor, Political Science, UCR.

"Politics and Vaccine Hesitancy: Evidence from Malawi"

Widespread vaccination could stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic. Such an intervention will depend on vaccine availability as well as acceptance among the unvaccinated. Availability is a significant challenge in low and middle income countries dependent on wealthy countries for vaccine access. But much less is known about vaccine hesitancy, especially in the African region, where little research has examined the determinants of vaccination. In this presentation, Kim Yi Dionne will discuss analysis of original survey data from Malawi, a country that relies significantly on foreign aid for health and where citizens have relatively low trust in political leaders. In a phone survey conducted in late 2021, we asked adult Malawians (N=3,234) about their attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and their perceptions of vaccine efficacy and risk. We find strong evidence that political affiliations – in particular, being a partisan of the party that lost power in the July 2020 election or a partisan of the party that gained it – significantly affect trust in government. Power losers experienced substantial drops in trust while power gainers experienced substantial gains. Losing or winning power did not, however, affect trust in the World Health Organization (WHO). Both forms of trust in turn shape vaccine acceptance. Our analysis suggests that international organizations may be able to counterbalance cycles in political trust generated by elections and in so doing improve uptake of public health measures.

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  • Harry Stoltz
  • Desiree Melonas

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