COVID-19 Vaccine Conspiracy Theories and Hesitancies among Different Socio-Demographics: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • Emmanuel Akhigbe Igbuan
Keywords: conspiracy, vaccine, hesitancies, demographics


The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination to control transmission, morbidity, and mortality is highly dependent on the population's readiness to embrace the vaccine. This study explores the level of willingness of various demographics in accepting COVID-19 vaccine. A narrative literature review using thematic analytical method was used to determine the level of vaccine acceptance among various socio-demographics. Conspiracy belief was used as the conceptual framework to explore the causes of vaccine hesitancies. It was discovered from the reviewed literatures that vaccine hesitancy was present in all surveyed countries and population. COVID-19 vaccine hesitancies correlated with age, gender, level of education, country of residence, race, ethnic and religion affiliations. The studied revealed that participants who were at least 55 years or older were more receptive to COVID-19 vaccines compared to those between 25 to 54, some studies revealed that those between 16 to 24 years were more receptive than those between 25 to 34 years. The studies showed vaccine hesitancies were higher in female than their male counterparts and also those with no education or low education were more prone to vaccine refusals than college and university graduates. Furthermore, religion affiliation and belief plays a significant role in vaccine hesitancies, those whose religion opposes vaccine acceptance had high refusal rate compared to those whose religion encourages vaccinations, while participants without any religion affiliations showed more willingness to get vaccinated. Ethnicity and racial characteristics were highly significant in all the reviewed literatures, with highest hesitancies among Black race than their Whites counterparts. Majority of Asians and Latinos had over 70% vaccine acceptances, the race and ethnic affiliations were further substantiated when it was observed that people from South America such as Ecuador, Brazil, some Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh had the highest vaccine acceptance compared to countries in Africa and Europe. The primary reason for this vaccine hesitancies was the various conspiracies theories in circulation that labelled the vaccines as either diabolic or unsafe. Targeting populations with high vaccine reluctance rates can help achieve high vaccination coverage. Effective communication should be adopted by using appropriate channels as this will foster trust and increase vaccine uptake.