When Australians have access to a future COVID-19 vaccine only 68% of people would choose to have it a Griffith University study shows.

Dr Joan Carlini from Griffith Business School and chair of the Gold Coast Hospital Service Consumer Advisory Group said the COVID-19 Behavioural Insights Study surveyed 523 people on factors influencing adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

Dr Joan Carlini

“Our report found vaccine safety is the top concern for refusing one,’’ she said.

“We also found a significant relationship between people who had flu vaccinations in the past and those who would agree to a COVID-19 vaccine.”

She said governments would need to focus on the attitudes of anti-vaccinators to succeed.

The report recommended future health campaigns aimed at anti-vaccinators should also avoid a mass communication approach which previous research has shown to be ineffective.

“We should instead encourage those with concerns to see their healthcare practitioner for clear advice and a comparison of the risks of taking the vaccine compared to contracting COVID-19,” Dr Carlini said.

She said how people perceive risk strongly influences the adoption of behaviours which protects them and the community, with the report revealing three broad groups with different motivations.

“The first group is people living their life as usual and not following guidelines. The second group follows recommended guidelines and the third group are people who are going over and above what is recommended.

“The third group is new in this field of research, where being over-protective is concerned with people neglecting their emotional and physical health by doing more than is necessary.”

Dr Carlini said overwhelmingly all participants expressed their biggest concern was for their family becoming sick rather than the impact on themselves.

“There are really two different levels here, the first is the concern for younger and older people in their family contracting the virus.

“The second level is if they contract the virus, they were more concerned they wouldn’t be able to care for their family rather than the consequences for themselves.

“This is a really important finding when we’re looking at future awareness campaigns. Messages should really be tailored to focus on issues around family and this emotional motivation.”

The COVID-19 Behavioural Insights Study will form the basis of a future predictive model to assist policy makers to understand which factors influence protective behaviour.