ObjectiveWe examine the role of social capital in intention to take the vaccine at the end of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MethodsThis study uses observational, cross-sectional data from the Ontario sample of the fall 2020 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), a representative sample of the population with added questions relative to symptoms of COVID-19 and intentions to get vaccinated. Questions on social capital were asked to respondents from Ontario only, yielding a sample of 6516. Odds ratios (OR) and marginal effects at sample mean of an index of social capital (at the individual or aggregated level) on changes in intentions to get vaccinated are estimated from logistic regression models.
ResultsIndividual-level social capital is associated with greater willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 (OR 1.09). Associations with aggregated-level social capital are less precisely estimated. Associations are the same for both males and females but vary across age categories: individual-level social capital is associated with higher willingness to get vaccinated among working-age respondents, but aggregate-level social capital is associated with higher willingness to get vaccinated among older adults.
ConclusionVaccine hesitancy is not a random phenomenon, nor is it explained by individual characteristics such as education or income only. It also reflects the state of the social environment in which individuals live and public health messaging should take this into account if it is to be successful.