“Please, you go first!” preferences for a COVID-19 vaccine among adults in the Netherlands

Niek Mouter*, Annamarie de Ruijter, G. Ardine de Wit, Mattijs S. Lambooij, Maarten van Wijhe, Job van Exel, Roselinde Kessels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Vaccination is generally considered the most direct way to restoring normal life after the outbreak of COVID-19, but the available COVID-19 vaccines are simultaneously embraced and dismissed. Mapping factors for vaccine hesitancy may help the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and provide valuable insights for future pandemics. Objectives: We investigate how characteristics of a COVID-19 vaccine affect the preferences of adult citizens in the Netherlands to take the vaccine directly, to refuse it outright, or to wait a few months and first look at the experiences of others. Methods: An online sample of 895 respondents participated between November 4th and November 10th, 2020 in a discrete choice experiment including the attributes: percentage of vaccinated individuals protected against COVID-19, month in which the vaccine would become available and the number of cases of mild and severe side effects. The data was analysed by means of panel mixed logit models. Results: Respondents found it important that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine becomes available as soon as possible. However, the majority did not want to be the first in line and would rather wait for the experiences of others. The predicted uptake of a vaccine with the optimal combination of attributes was 87%, of whom 55% preferred to take the vaccine after a waiting period. This latter group tends to be lower-educated. Older respondents gave more weight to vaccine effectiveness than younger respondents. Conclusions: The willingness to take a COVID-19 vaccine is high among adults in the Netherlands, but a considerable proportion prefers to delay their decision to vaccinate until experiences of others are known. Offering this wait-and-see group the opportunity to accept the invitation at a later moment may stimulate vaccination uptake. Our results further suggest that vaccination campaigns targeted at older citizens should focus on the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114626
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Discrete choice experiment
  • Health policy
  • Public preferences
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccination


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