COVID-19: Vaccine research insights

This research is part of an ongoing series that looks into New Zealanders’ attitudes and public sentiment towards the COVID-19 vaccine.

Last updated: 1 December 2021

Background

In 2020, Horizon Research, in association with the School of Population Health, University of Auckland, was commissioned to survey New Zealanders’ attitudes and sentiment towards COVID-19 vaccines.

Several distinct but related online surveys have been undertaken.

Number of people participating in the surveys

  • 2,447 respondents between 28 October and 9 November 2021
  • 799 Māori respondents between 14 and 20 October 2021
  • 2,479 respondents between 28 September and 1 October 2021
  • 2,334 respondents between 24 and 29 August 2021
  • 2,509 respondents between 26 July and 1 August 2021
  • 1,472 respondents between 25 and 30 June 2021
  • 1,234 respondents between 28 and 30 May 2021
  • 1,387 respondents between 23 April and 2 May 2021
  • 1,350 respondents between 26 March and 1 April 2021
  • 1,317 respondents between 16 and 19 February 2021
  • 1,438 respondents between 1 and 4 December 2020
  • 1,451 respondents between 24 and 28 September 2020

Key research insights

At a glance: COVID-19 vaccine research insights – October 2021

Overall vaccine uptake

Encouragingly, the overall potential uptake estimated in October including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get vaccinated has increased to 92%.

This represents a five-percentage point increase since September and demonstrates the considerable efforts that have been made across the country in recent months (September 87%, August 86%, July 79%, June 77%, May 80%, April 77%, March 69%).

A further 2% of respondents are unsure whether they will get the vaccine, 2% are unlikely and 4% of respondents say they will definitely not get the vaccine.

We have been effective at getting those likely to get the vaccine over the line and made some small gains in nudging those who are unsure or unlikely to get the vaccine. Those who ‘definitely won’t’ get vaccinated are showing minimal movement over time.

Overall potential uptake by Māori respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, has increased to 78% in October, up from 73% in September (the margin of error for the Māori sub-sample at a 95% confidence level is ±6.8%).

Overall potential uptake by Pasifika respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, is at 89% up from 81% in September. (the margin of error for the Pasifika sub-sample at a 95% confidence level is ±14.1%).

Overall potential uptake by respondents who identify as disabled has also increased to 87% from 82% in September. Please note that changes in overall potential uptake reported by ethnicity are within the margin of error for the sample sizes achieved and therefore are not statistically significant. They should be treated as indicative only.

Vaccinating youth and children

Three quarters (78%) of those who care for 12- to 15-year-olds would ‘definitely’ or ‘likely’ allow children of this age to be vaccinated – the same result as September. However, there was an increase in the proportion who said they would not allow their 12- to 15-year-olds to get a COVID-19 vaccine: up to 20% from 14% in September. There was a commensurate drop in those who were unsure: down to 3% from 8% in September.

Almost seven in ten (68%) of those who care for 5- to 11-year-olds would allow their child or children to get a COVID-19 vaccine, a slight increase since September 63%.

The remaining unvaccinated

Reflecting the changing vaccination profile of New Zealand, the breakdown for the unvaccinated group continues to change, so comparisons between months should be made cautiously.

As vaccination rates increase considerably with nationwide efforts, the pool of people who are still likely to get vaccinated has correspondingly decreased. In October, 24% of the unvaccinated are likely to get the vaccine (3% of the population) compared to 33% of the unvaccinated population in September (6% of the population) and 70% in August (33% of the population).

Unvaccinated respondents are increasingly adamant that they will not get vaccinated, 38% of unvaccinated respondents said they 'definitely won’t' get vaccinated, up from 20% in September.

Of the unvaccinated who are not definitely intending to get vaccinated, 12% intend to make a decision in the next 2 months, 16% in the next 3-12 months, and 20% are a year or more away from making a decision.

  • Those who are definitely or probably never getting vaccinated are older than average, lower than average income, less likely to be employed, and more likely to live in a regional town or a rural area.
  • Those waiting for a year or more are younger than average, more likely to be female, lower than average income, more likely to be living in a rural area.
  • Those making a decision in the next three to twelve months are younger than average, higher than average income, and less likely than average to be living in a large city.
  • Those making a decision in the next two months are younger than average, lower than average income, more likely to have school level qualifications only, and less likely to reside in a regional town.

Encouraging second dose uptake

Efforts should go into encouraging second dose uptake, with just 56% of those who have had one dose say they will “definitely” get another dose, below the 77% recorded in September.

It is estimated that there are around 66,500 people 12+ who have had one dose but are not currently committed to their second dose.

Among those who said they were unsure or unlikely to get their second dose, side effects from the first dose were the main reason for their hesitation, and a perception that the vaccine would not be effective against the new strain.

Barriers to vaccination

As more of those who were unsure or likely to get vaccinated have decided to get vaccinated, the remaining unvaccinated population represent a more steadfast group who are more sceptical about the vaccine.

As in September the main reasons for being unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine relate to a view that long term effects are not known / it’s just an experiment or trial (27%) and that there are serious side effects/deaths from the vaccine – it is not safe / its effects are worse than COVID / it’s a poison (20%). However, the remaining unvaccinated are more likely to say the government wants to control/bully us into getting the vaccine/I don't trust the government (20% vs 13% in September), that it’s not a real vaccine / I want a real/traditional vaccine (14% vs 7% in September), I don't trust the vaccine / don’t trust Pfizer or 'big pharma' (7 % up from 0%).

Respondents who were not vaccinated were also asked what was holding them back from getting a vaccine (from a prescribed list covering various emotional and physical aspects). For a significant proportion, the barriers are emotive, related to feeling pressured, anxious and overwhelmed by the pandemic. The main aspects holding them back are:

  • there's too much social pressure to get vaccinated (33%)
  • I'm under enough pressure coping with everyday life to think about getting the vaccine (14%)
  • I'm feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic (12%)
  • I'm feeling too anxious about the pandemic and the vaccine (9%)
  • I'm feeling paralysed because I haven't been able to find the information that I want on the vaccine (7%).

Those who say there is 'too much social pressure', they are 'under enough pressure coping with everyday life' or 'feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic' are generally:

  • more likely than average to be female
  • generally younger than the average age – primarily under 45 years of age
  • lower income
  • less likely to respond to any of the messaging or activities put forward in the research.

Emotive barriers varied depending on vaccination intention.

  • Those who are unlikely to get vaccinated are more likely to say:
    • there’s 'too much social pressure to get vaccinated' (58%)
    • 'I’m under enough pressure coping with everyday life to think about the vaccine' (27%).
  • Those who are unsure if they’ll get vaccinated are more likely to say:
    • 'there’s too much social pressure to get vaccinated' (38%)
    • 'I feel paralysed because I haven’t been able to find the information that I want on the vaccine' (21%),
    • 'I’m under enough pressure coping with everyday life' (20%)
    • 'I’m feeling too anxious about the pandemic and vaccine' (17%).
  • Those who are likely but haven’t booked are more likely to say:
    • 'there’s too much social pressure to get vaccinated' (28%)
    • 'I don’t feel comfortable going to a vaccination centre' (21%)
    • 'I just haven’t got around to it yet' (17%)
    • 'I feel too anxious about the pandemic and vaccine' (14%)
    • 'I feel paralysed because I haven’t been able to find the information that I want on the vaccine' (12%).

Around a quarter (24%) of respondents not already vaccinated believe they have medical or health problems that mean they are unable to get the vaccine, up from 19% in September. Being immunocompromised (33%), taking blood thinning medication (23%) and a previous allergic reaction to any vaccine (22%) are the top three health barriers. However, there are a range of other reasons given: getting another vaccine (14%), taking antibiotics (7%), have cancer (7%), feeling unwell/fever (6%), heart disease (6%). Two percent mentioned being either pregnant or trying to conceive as a barrier to getting vaccinated.

Perceived risk of infection

Perceived risk has more than doubled, with 69% of all respondents now considering some or a high chance of being infected with the virus, up from 30% in September. Unvaccinated respondents are less likely to perceive a risk of infection and more likely to consider there’s no chance of being infected with the virus (14% vs the total 3%). There is opportunity here to communicate the likelihood of interacting with the virus.

Education also plays a role in people’s assessment of their chances, with those with degrees are more likely to think there is some chance (75%), compared to 62% with a high school education (or none at all).

Asian, Indian and Pasifika respondents think they are less likely to get infected (59%, 57% and 48%) and Māori respondents think they are more likely (77%).

The one convincing thing

Unvaccinated respondents were asked the one thing that would absolutely convince them to get a vaccine. While a third said nothing would convince theme, key themes among those who provided a comment were:

  • having access to a traditional/ non-experimental vaccine (15%, up from 3% in September)
  • long-term data (13%, no change since September).
  • knowing it works (8%, down from 15% in September)
  • government transparency (8%, up from 1% in September).

Talking with others

Nine in ten (92%) of vaccinated respondents said they would likely recommend getting the vaccine to others, 4% were unlikely to recommend doing so, and 4% were unsure.

85% of vaccinated respondents indicated they would be prepared to talk with others about getting the vaccine, 15% would not. 61% percent were prepared to talk with their friends and a net 65% were prepared to talk with their family/whanau (ie, parents 44%, brothers 41%, sisters 39%, other family/whānau 39%, elderly relatives 36% and cousins 34%).

When asked what they could say to convince people to get the vaccine, they would talk about their own vaccine journey (18%), getting vaccinated to protect friends and family (15%), getting vaccinated for the community (14%), share medical information (11%), and the impact of not getting vaccinated on their ability to carry out activities (9%). Interestingly some recognise that conversations may be futile – 9% said 'they just want to be left alone'.

The types of information that would support people in these conversations would detail:

  • how the vaccine protects health (43%)
  • where they can get expert advice (41%)
  • that the vaccine is unlikely to cause a serious adverse reaction (40%)
  • what it is like to have COVID-19 (40%).

The top five sources for receiving or accessing advocacy support information are:

  • government websites (47%)
  • news online (43%)
  • email (43%)
  • TV news (40%)
  • printed information from GPs and pharmacies (40%).

Unvaccinated respondents (excluding those who definitely won’t get a vaccine) were asked if they would like to have a personal chat about the vaccine with someone they trust. Just 11% would like a personal conversation with a trusted person, 14% were unsure and 75% said they did not want a conversation with someone they trust about the vaccine.

Among the few who would speak with someone, medical providers 59% and family 52% were most widely mentioned as trusted people these would speak with about the vaccine.

One in ten (10%) of unvaccinated who were not definitive about getting the vaccine would attend a local meeting to chat about the vaccine with local doctors and others. 30% indicated they were unlikely to attend and 53% said they definitely would not attend. Those aged 25 to 34 and those living in large cities were more likely to say they would attend a local meeting (18% and 14% respectively).

Official communications

The majority (91%) had seen official COVID-19 or vaccine information advertising in the past 30 days.

  • Television is the highest source (free to air 63%, on demand 21%) but social media advertising is also widely recalled (47%).
  • Nearly four in ten (38%) said seeing official advertising had reinforced their decision to have the vaccine, down from 49% in September.
  • Nearly a fifth (18%) said this official advertising made them more likely to get a vaccine (up from 4% in September).
  • Half (49%) said this advertising made no difference to their decision and 5% said seeing advertising made them less likely to get a vaccine.

Information needs

Nearly four in ten (38%) of those not vaccinated feel they definitely have enough information to decide whether or not to get vaccinated, up from 25% in September.

Half (50%) have potential information gaps, indicating they need to know more, don’t quite/or mostly have the information they need, down from 64% in September.

The types of information that would help people to decide whether to get vaccinated includes:

  • more information on the possible side effects and risks (49%)
  • evidence that the vaccine I am offered is unlikely to cause a serious adverse reaction (41%)
  • information about the number of people in Aotearoa and around the world who have safely taken the vaccine, what it’s like to have COVID-19 and the long-term symptoms (18%)
  • information about the protection the vaccine will give me (15%)
  • how likely I am to catch COVID-19 (11%)

Online news (37%), Government websites (29%), TV news (24%) and email (23%) are the most preferred ways to receive information. However, there’s strong opportunity across a variety of print media including printed information available at GPs/pharmacies/community locations (20%), newspapers (16%), magazines (13%), community newspapers (12%), information delivered via letterbox (11%), and information at workplace (9%).

Opening up with the new COVID-19 management system

The COVID-19 management system will happily nudge some people over the line, but for most there’s a level of resentment and for some this may hold them back from getting vaccinated at all.

  • Only 5% of unvaccinated respondents said they will willingly get two doses and are happy with the new management system and 6% said they were happy with the system but it wouldn’t make them get vaccinated.
  • 16% said they would get two doses but weren’t happy about it as they felt pressured.
  • Nearly a third (31%) said that no restrictions would change their mind, 8% said they won’t get the vaccine because there’s too much pressure, and 18% said they are unhappy about the new requirements and won’t get a vaccine because of them.

Earlier move to more freedoms for Auckland, South Island

A third (33%) would be definitely or more likely to get vaccinated to end the Level 3 Lockdown in Auckland and to shift to Alert Level 2 in the South Island.

27% indicated they would definitely not get vaccinated for Auckland and South Island to change alert levels, and a further 23% said it was unlikely to encourage them to get vaccinated.

Interestingly Aucklanders were no more supportive of this prospect than the average. Canterbury was the most supportive region in the South Island – reflected in the considerable boost in vaccination rates for this region.

Getting vaccinated to do more

Unvaccinated respondents and those who had received one dose, were asked whether the opportunity to use all businesses, and be able to do more activities if fully vaccinated makes them more or less likely to get two doses of the vaccine.

  • Nearly four in ten (37%) were definitely or more likely to get two doses to be able to use all businesses and do more activities.
  • 29% said it would definitely not make them more likely to get two doses.
  • Of interest, 38% of those who are booked to get vaccinated were not sure whether this opportunity would make them more or less likely to get a vaccine or not.
  • Unvaccinated respondents and those who had received one dose were asked whether they would get two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine just so that they could go to, or do, a range of activities. Of all activities put forward, attending family/whānau gatherings (39%) and travel between regions (33%) is most likely to encourage two doses.
  • Those who are currently booked or had their first dose are more motivated to get their two doses to access all types activities.
  • Those who are unvaccinated and unlikely to do so are less motivated to get their two doses to access all types of activities. None of the listed activities would drive any change from those who currently say they would “definitely not” get a vaccine.
  • Those who are unvaccinated but likely to do so are more motivated to get two doses to go to the gym (28% vs. 16% for the total).

Getting vaccinated to go to work

Only 18% of those not currently vaccinated would be likely (most likely or definitely) to get the vaccine to retain their job. Those unlikely to get vaccinated to retain their job are more likely to be older with only 7% of those over 55 years of age “likely” to vaccinate for work.

Misinformation

Over half (57%) of respondents had come across what they believed to be misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines, consistent with September 56%.

Social media (66%) and friends or family (38%) remain the top two main sources of misinformation.

Friends (22%), main-stream media (21%), acquaintances (20%), and websites (20%) are mentioned to a similar level.

Comments regarding misinformation suggest some of the remaining unvaccinated consider misinformation is coming from Government and that there is a sinister motive.

As was evident in September, the remaining unvaccinated are increasingly susceptible to misinformation.

Nearly half (45%) would look for official information if the misinformation was of concern, up from 36% in September.

Three in ten (30%) would not take a vaccine if misinformation looked credible, up from 19% in September.

Persuasive messages

Respondents who were not vaccinated were asked to select from a list of reasons that would make them more likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Over half of people who are not vaccinated said they would not get vaccinated for any of the reasons presented to them (54%).

All messages have a small incremental impact on those who are not vaccinated. Getting vaccinated to protect one’s own health is likely to be the most impactful message, at 29%. Other messages that point to the need to uphold the medical system are also likely to have some impact:

  • 20% to make sure hospitals are not overwhelmed
  • 18% to ensure family can get medical care when needed
  • 18% make sure medical care can continue, 17% to help stop the spread throughout the country
  • 17% to keep the number of people needing hospital care at manageable levels.

Having read information about delayed and “long haul COVID”, 19% of unvaccinated respondents said that this would make them more likely to get the vaccine. Indications are that these people were primarily those are already likely to get vaccinated. It has no impact on those who currently say they will 'definitely not' get vaccinated.

Protecting others by getting vaccinated

Respondents who were not vaccinated were asked to select from a list who, if anyone, they would most like to protect from COVID-19 and the Delta strain by getting vaccinated.

  • 45% of unvaccinated respondents would get vaccinated to protect someone on the list and 25% specifically said they would not get vaccinated to protect others.
  • Elderly relatives (24%) and parents (23%) are the two groups people most want to protect. Other family members also feature and, to a lesser extent, people in the wider community.
  • Nearly a fifth (18%) of those who are yet to be vaccinated indicated they could be motivated to get vaccinated to protect children under 12 and those who can't take the vaccine for medical reasons, down from 32% in September.
  • Four in ten (39%) said they would definitely not get vaccinated to protect others, up from 21% in September.

Needs met during vaccination process

In October 93% of those who had received at least one vaccine said their language needs had “definitely” been met during the vaccination process.

Only 56% of those with a disability or impairment who had received at least one vaccine said their needs were definitely met (a decrease from 62% in September; August 69%; July 68%) and 16% said they were “mostly” met (September 11%).

Trust in management of the pandemic

The average trust in the Ministry of Health and Government to manage the pandemic, on a scale of 0 to 5 (with 5 being highest) has dropped to 3.3 out of 5, the lowest measured level of trust since monitoring began in February 2021.

  • Those who have been fully vaccinated (two doses) have an average trust level of 3.6, and 62% totally trust or mostly trust the Ministry of Health and Government to manage the pandemic.
  • Those unvaccinated and un-booked have an average trust level of 1.0 out of 5, with only 8% of totally or mostly trusting the Ministry of Health and Government, and 48% saying they totally distrust them.

This suggests a large divide in the population between those who trust the MoH or Government and those who do not, with a person’s decision to get vaccinated or not strongly related with their level of trust.

Rating of the vaccination response has deteriorated over time and now sits at the lowest reported level since monitoring began, dropping slowly over time from a high of 7.2 out of 10 in February 2021 to 5.9 in October 2021.

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – October 2021 (PDF, 329 KB)

At a glance: COVID-19 vaccine research insights with Māori – October 2021

Background

Horizon Research, in association with the School of Population Health, University of Auckland, have been commissioned to survey Māori attitudes and sentiment towards COVID-19 vaccines.

The October survey took place between 14–20 October, with a total of 799 responses achieved (of these 126 were unvaccinated).

Overall vaccine uptake

  • In October, the overall potential uptake, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, is estimated at 75% of the 18+ Māori population, equivalent to 364,840 Māori (based on the population 18+ from the HSU data).
  • This compares with 69% in July and 65% in February 2021 surveys.
  • A further 8% are unsure whether they will get the vaccine, 8% are unlikely and 9% of respondents say they will definitely not get the vaccine.
  • We have been effective at getting those likely to get the vaccine over the line and there has potentially been a slight softening of stance for the ‘definitely won’t’ and fewer saying they are unsure.

Motivators for vaccination

  • Among those who have been vaccinated, booked or definitely getting/likely to get the vaccine, the main reasons for doing so are largely altruistic, involving caring for one’s iwi/whānau/rohe or community, rather than about the individual.
  • There is a strong protection theme: It is important to protect my whānau (60%), to help prevent COVID-19 spreading through my community/hapori (56%) and to help protect vulnerable New Zealanders (55%).
  • There’s also motivation in vaccination for the wider good, that it’s the right thing to do (56%) and to help prevent COVID-19 from causing lockdowns and loss of jobs and other damage (52%).

Barriers to vaccination

Main reasons for being unsure or unlikely to get vaccinated are:

  • It is too soon to see whether there are any long-term effects from the vaccine – 56%
  • The COVID 19 vaccines were developed too quickly/not tested enough – 48%
  • It won't stop me completely from getting COVID-19/ getting sick – 44%
  • I'm not sure yet that a COVID-19 vaccine would be safe – 41%
  • I don't trust the COVID-19 vaccine – 40%.

Increasing pressure and anxiety is also a barrier among those who are unvaccinated and not booked:

  • There's too much social pressure to get vaccinated – 30%
  • I'm under enough pressure coping with everyday life to think about getting the vaccine – 21%
  • I'm feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic – 15%
  • I'm feeling too anxious about the pandemic and the vaccine – 12%.

Of those who are unvaccinated and not booked, 91% understand that the vaccine is free, 6% are unsure and 3% said they would have to pay. Even though most Māori think the vaccine is free, there is some confusion about if they need to pay for the visit if they get it from their GP or health provider – 2% who think the vaccine is free also think they will need to pay for the GP visit if they get the vaccine there, and of those who are unsure if the vaccine is free 14% think they will have to pay for the visit to a GP if they get the vaccine there.

Information gaps

There are information gaps for some who are unvaccinated and not booked – 20% ‘definitely’ have all the information and 21% ‘mostly’ have the information they need. However, 29% need to know more and 14% don’t quite have the information they need. The two main things unvaccinated and not booked respondents (who do not have enough information) said they need to know about are:

  • Information on the long-term effects of the vaccine, based on longer and/or more clinical studies (27%)
  • Information on the side effects and risks (15%).

Unvaccinated respondents were also asked what would make them more likely to get a vaccine. There is a clear call for more information, specifically:

  • more information on possible side effects – 29%
  • evidence the vaccine I am offered is unlikely to cause a serious adverse reaction – 26%
  • more information about the number of people in Aotearoa and around the world that have safely taken the vaccine – 19%.

Trusted sources of COVID-19 vaccine information

The most trusted Government sources of information are:

  • the Ministry of Health: health.govt.nz – 74%
  • Unite against COVID-19 website: covid-19.govt.nz – 54%,
  • Iwi websites – 42%
  • Karawhiua (developed by TPK) – 40%.

The most trusted TV sources are:

  • TVNZ (Television One or Two – including Te Karere) – 77%
  • Māori Television (including Te Ao, Tapatahi) – 64%
  • THREE (including The Hui) – 55%.

Most trusted news services:

  • NZ mainstream online news services – 76%
  • Daily NZ newspapers – 48%
  • NZ community papers – 41%.

Most trusted radio:

  • Radio New Zealand – 59%
  • Iwi radio stations – 50%
  • NZ commercial radio stations – 49%.

Most trusted social media sources are:

  • Facebook – 47%
  • closed online groups – 46%
  • YouTube – 33%.

Trusted advisors

For unvaccinated respondents, conversations with trusted advisors with expertise to answer questions were supported. Particularly:

  • a conversation with someone who has been trained to discuss my concerns and factually answer my questions – 20%
  • a medical provider I trust – 15%
  • being able to ask medical experts all the questions I have about COVID-19 vaccine – 13%
  • a conversation with someone with a te Ao Māori view – 9%.

Sports and media stars, trusted Māori leaders, church or spiritual leaders, and politicians they admire, are not likely to achieve whole scale shifts in vaccination but may nudge some.

Among all respondents, Dr Ashley Bloomfield (62%) and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (54%), whānau (44%), and friends (36%) were most widely viewed as trusted people for vaccine information. Most trusted medical professionals are GPs (69%), medical specialists (50%), and Māori health providers (44%).

Unvaccinated respondents have a slightly different view, with friends (50%) and whānau (49%) their most trusted people to deliver information on vaccine information and to a much lesser extent Dr Ashley Bloomfield (28%) and the Prime Minister (28%). The most trusted medical professionals among unvaccinated respondents are their GP (45%), medical specialists (37%), and their Māori health provider (32%).

Access

Practical solutions that break down access barriers will help for some of the unvaccinated, specifically:

  • a financial incentive to cover my time to get a vaccine – 15%
  • if my doctor or health provider sets up a clinic to give vaccine – 11%
  • if I can get it at work – 7%
  • if free public transport is provided to get to a vaccination centre – 7%
  • if vaccinators come to my home to give it to me – 7%
  • if I can get it at a local school – 6%.

For those who are unvaccinated and not booked, preference for place of vaccination is varied with formal medical options generally most preferred:

  • my doctor (general practitioner) – 23%
  • Māori health provider service (e.g., whānau ora) – 8%
  • practice nurse – 6%
  • District Health nurse – 5%
  • hospital – 4%
  • pharmacy – 4%.

However, there’s likely benefit in offering a mix of convenient locations for these respondents (unvaccinated and not booked), such as:

  • pop-up clinics at marae – 5%
  • 'pop-up' vaccination clinic (e.g., malls, shopping centres, schools) – 5%
  • at school (with tamariki) – 5%
  • at workplaces – 4%
  • at homes – 6%
  • Kaupapa Māori Vax Now Centre – 3%
  • 24-hour pop-up clinics – 4%.

Group vaccination is not widely supported amongst the unvaccinated and not booked – 22% likely and 60% unlikely to get a vaccine at the same time as other members of whānau/ family, including children or people you support.

55% of all respondents have a Māori health provider in their area and 32% of these attend their Māori health provider. 9% of all respondents do not have a Māori health provider and 36% were unsure.

Incentives

In terms of incentive offerings, there were three standouts: $100 cash payment to everyone getting the vaccine (19%), $100 gift card voucher (18%), supermarket vouchers (15%). Note, TRA research speaks of disgust at “sleazy” incentives so there’s a need to tread with caution with incentives.

33% (of unvaccinated) are likely to get vaccinated to get a certificate to attend events, 20% are unlikely, 33% will definitely not get vaccinated for this reason, and 15% were unsure.

Vaccination certificates for certain activities will encourage some, particularly the following: attend family/whānau gatherings (19%), funerals/tangihanga (14%), for overseas travel (14%) and restaurants (12%).

Misinformation

46% had seen or heard information on COVID-19 vaccines that they believed was NOT true. The false information related to the vaccine itself (side effects/death from vaccine/microchips), those promoting an anti-vaccination message and those voicing Government/political agendas.

Overwhelmingly, social media is the most recognised source of social media among Māori respondents (63%). Other sources include:

  • mainstream print and online media – 34%
  • television – 27%
  • from friends – 27%
  • whānau/family – 25%
  • from others I know – 21%.

Support for youth vaccination

Support for tamariki/youth vaccination increases with age:

  • 57% likely to allow tamariki (5-11yrs) in their care to have the vaccine if approved, 9% unlikely, 18% definitely not and 16% unsure.
  • 75% likely to allow tamarirki (12-15yrs) in their care to have the vaccine if approved, 9% unlikely, 7% definitely not and 10% unsure.
  • 79% likely to allow youth (16-17) in their care to have the vaccine if approved, 7% unlikely, 3% definitely not and 12% unsure.

Reasons for not vaccinating tamariki/youth reflect the hesitations they have for themselves:

  • I would need to be assured about its safety for tamariki – 51%
  • It is too soon to see whether there are any long-term effects for tamariki from the vaccine – 45%
  • I don't trust the COVID-19 vaccine – 34%
  • I'd rather wait and see if others who have get it have any side effects – 23%
  • I don't see the need for tamariki to get a COVID-19 vaccine – 19%.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights Māori – October 2021 (PDF, 189 KB)

At a glance – September 2021

Overall vaccine uptake

  • In September the overall potential uptake of the vaccine, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, has plateaued at 87% of respondents. This represents a one percentage point increase since the August estimate of 86% and indicates a slowing of the upward trend evident in previous months (July 79%, June 77%, May 80%, April 77%, March 69%).
  • A further 4% of respondents are unsure whether they will get the vaccine, 5% are unlikely and 4% of respondents say they will definitely not get the vaccine.
  • Overall potential uptake by Māori respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, has decreased to 73% from 79% in August, returning to levels reported in July of 73% (the margin of error for the Māori sub-sample at a 95% confidence level is ±5.1%).
  • Overall potential uptake by Pasifika respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, is at 81%, down from 85% in August, and up from 72% in July. (the margin of error for the Pasifika sub-sample at a 95% confidence level is ±8.6%)
  • Overall potential uptake by respondents who identify as disabled has decreased slightly to 82% down from 86% in August.
  • Please note that changes in overall potential uptake reported by ethnicity are within the margin of error for the sample sizes achieved and therefore are not statistically significant. They should be treated as indicative only.
  • Overall potential uptake of the vaccination is below average in the Waikato and Northland DHBs.
  • Reflecting the changing vaccination profile of New Zealand, the breakdown for the unvaccinated group is very different this wave compared to the previous wave, so comparisons between August and September should be made cautiously.
  • The pool of people who are still likely to get vaccinated has diminished during September (and likely greater still since the Super Saturday event, which is not yet reflected in these results). In September 33% of the unvaccinated are likely to get the vaccine (6% of the population) compared to 70% of the unvaccinated in August (33% of the population).
  • In September 40% of Māori respondents not already vaccinated said they are likely to get a vaccine (down from 68% in August), again reflecting a changing profile.

Barriers to vaccination

  • The main reasons for being unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine relate to concerns about serious side effects/deaths from the vaccine (28%), that long term effects are not known/ it’s just a trial (26%), and a view that the government wants to control us/ is bullying us into getting the vaccine/I don't trust the government (13%).
  • 19% of respondents not already vaccinated believe they have medical or health problems that mean they are unable to get the vaccine.
    • A previous allergic reaction to a vaccine (32%) is the single most widely mentioned health barrier. Being immunocompromised (16%), taking antibiotics (12%), and having or being tested for Covid-19 (12%) are also widely mentioned as a health barrier.
  • 14% of unvaccinated respondents consider there is no chance that they will be infected with the virus, and 41% consider they have little chance of being infected.

Communication and information

  • Almost all respondents (94%) said they had seen an official COVID-19 information and vaccine advertisement in the 30 days leading up to taking the survey.
  • The top four sources of official information are TV, social media, radio and news websites.
  • The reach of YouTube, the press, letterbox/leaflet and billboards increased notably.
  • Around half (48%) of those not vaccinated feel they have enough information to decide whether or not to get vaccinated, representing a sharp drop from 68 percent in August.
  • The types of information that would help people to decide whether to get vaccinated includes:
    • information on the long-term effects of the vaccine, based on longer and/or more clinical studies (29%)
    • ‘facts’ on the success rate for vaccines, their effectiveness, their ingredients and the results from international studies (14%)
    • information on side effects and risks (13%)
    • information to appease suspicion of government information/ ‘propaganda’ (9%) – an emerging response, only mentioned by 2% in August.

Misinformation

  • 56% of respondents had come across what they believed to be misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines, up from 51% in August.
  • Unvaccinated respondents were less likely to say they had come across what they believed to be misinformation. They were also less likely to have noticed misinformation in September (42%) than August (48%).
  • Social media (71%) and friends or family (38%) remain the top two main sources of misinformation. However, main-stream media is now the third most recognised source of misinformation with 26% of mentions up from 21% in August.
  • Those who are likely to get vaccinated are more likely than average to recognise friends and family, acquaintances, neighbours as sources of misinformation.
  • Those who are unlikely to get vaccinated are more likely to mention brochures and medical professionals as sources of misinformation.
  • In terms of the impact of misinformation, 36% would look for official information if the misinformation was of concern, 27% may not take the vaccine if the information was alarming, and 19% may not take the vaccine if the information looked credible.
  • As more people are vaccinated, the group who are not vaccinated is changing and includes more people who are susceptible to not getting vaccinated if misinformation they observe is alarming or looks credible (46% up from 14% in August).
  • Those who say they definitely won’t get vaccinated are eight times more likely than the general population to believe that the vaccine can affect your reproductive organs, affect your DNA or RNA, and that it has religious or spiritual implications.

Persuasive messages

  • 27% of unvaccinated respondents are more likely to get vaccinated having been presented with scientific evidence about vaccine protection for the NZ population (i.e., 88% of vaccinated will be protected from infection and 96% will be protected from hospitalisation).
  • 34% of unvaccinated respondents are more likely to get vaccinated having read information about delayed and “long haul COVID” symptoms.

Protecting others by getting vaccinated

  • Protecting others is a concern for two thirds of the unvaccinated. 67% of respondents would get vaccinated to protect someone and 17% of respondents (predominantly those who are unlikely to get a vaccine) say they would not get vaccinated to protect others.
  • When prompted, unvaccinated people said they would most like to protect their parents (38%) from COVID-19 and the Delta strain by getting vaccinated.
  • Around a third of those who are yet to be vaccinated (32%) indicated they could be motivated to get vaccinated to protect children under 12 and those who can't take the vaccine for medical reasons.

Incentives

  • 25% of unvaccinated people say the health benefits of getting vaccinated are enough of an incentive to get vaccinated.
  • Immediate $100 cash incentives (24%) and $100 gift card vouchers (21%) are the preferred incentive options.
  • Paid time off work to recover from side effects of the vaccine had a Net increase in five percent likelihood to get vaccinated.
  • Of all the incentives and messages presented, restrictions on travel and family events (weddings/funerals/tangihanga) are likely to have the greatest impact among those who are already intending to get vaccinated.
  • Of all the incentives and messages presented, restrictions on travel are likely to have the greatest impact on those who say they are unlikely to get vaccinated.

Support for youth vaccine

  • 78% of caregivers of children aged 12-15 years would support the vaccine for those in their care.
  • 63% of caregivers of children aged 5 to 11 years old would support the vaccine for those in their care if it were to get approved.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – September 2021 (PDF, 154 KB)

At a glance – August 2021

Attitudes on the effect of new strains of COVID-19

  • Just over three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed believe that new more infectious strains of COVID-19 put them more at risk, while only 5% believe these strains pose less risk.
  • 44% who had not yet been vaccinated said they were more likely to get vaccinated with the emergence of more infectious strains of the virus. This is four times higher than those who said they were less likely to get vaccinated because of these new strains (11%).

Support for the plan to offer vaccines to all New Zealanders aged 12 years or over and extend the gap between doses

  • Support for this plan (76%) is almost eleven times higher than opposition (7%).

Support for lockdown

  • 83% overall support the Level 4 lockdown.
  • Support is high right across every DHB area in New Zealand, ranging from 96% in Taranaki to 68% in Wairarapa.

Misinformation

  • 51% of respondents had come across what they believed to be misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Those who had already been vaccinated and those who said they would 'definitely' or 'definitely not' get a vaccine were more likely than others to have seen or heard what they perceived as misinformation.
  • Sources of misinformation were: social media (70%); friends or family (40%); brochures/leaflets (23%).
  • Asian and Indian respondents were the most likely to not take the vaccine if alarmed by misinformation they thought was credible.
  • Māori and NZ Europeans/Pākehā were the least likely to be affected by misinformation.

Accepting a vaccine

  • 70% of respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get vaccine, a similar result to July (71%).
    • 68% of Māori respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get a vaccine, a similar result to July (67%).
    • 72% of Pasifika respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get a vaccine, up from 62% in July.
    • Respondents of Indian (85%) or Asian (82%) ethnicity, not already vaccinated, are more likely to get a vaccine compared with other ethnicities.
  • 10% of respondents not already vaccinated said they were unsure if they would get a vaccine, a similar result to July (9%).
  • The overall potential uptake, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine is estimated to be 86% of the 16+ population, up from 79% in July. The overall potential uptake of the 12+ population is estimated to be 85.5%.
  • Overall potential uptake by Māori respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, was 79% (±4.5%), compared with 73% in July.
  • Overall potential uptake by Pasifika respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, increased to 85%, up from 72% (±11.5%) in July. (Note: the total Pasifika sample size was 157, in line with their 16+ population proportion, so results are less statistically reliable and should be treated as an indication only.)
  • Overall potential uptake by respondents who identify as disabled is 86%.
  • Respondents aged 16–17 years old and between 45–54 years old are the most unsure about getting a vaccine. Those aged 16–17 years also have the lowest potential uptake.
  • Overall, 84% of respondents felt that it was important that everyone in New Zealand who is able to be vaccinated gets vaccinated.
  • 76% of people supported the decision to offer vaccines to all New Zealanders aged 12 years or over from 1 September and extend the gap between doses.
  • 73% of caregivers said they would ‘definitely’ or ‘likely’ allow 12- to 15-year-olds to be vaccinated, up from 67% in July. 14% said they were ‘unlikely’ or would ‘definitely not’ allow it (July 21%). Unsure dropped to 6% from 12% in July and June.
  • Māori were more likely than average to allow their 16- to 17-year-old taiohi to get a COVID-19 vaccine but less likely than average to allow their 12- to 15-year-old tamariki to get vaccinated. This is a reversal of the July result.

Barriers to uptake

  • 20% of respondents not already vaccinated say they are unlikely to have a vaccine, the same figure as July. Of that 20%, 10% will “definitely not” get a vaccine (11% in July).
  • Respondents aged 45-54 years who have not yet been vaccinated are the least likely to get a vaccine.
  • The main reasons for being unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine continue to be concerns about:
    • long-term effects
    • safety
    • the vaccine not being effective against new variants
    • adverse reactions
    • whether the vaccine might affect their health in other ways - waiting to see if others have side effects.
  • 44% of respondents who will ‘definitely not’ get a vaccine say they don’t see the need to get a vaccine, a similar result to July (45%).
  • DHB regions where the likelihood for respondents to accept a vaccine is lower than the national average include Northland, Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa and South Canterbury.

Making the decision to get a vaccine

  • The things that would most influence respondents who were not yet vaccinated were:
    • helping protect the health of family/whānau
    • that the vaccine had been through extensive, properly conducted clinical trials
    • the benefits of vaccination outweighing any risks
    • helping reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and the prospect of further lockdowns and economic harm.
  • In making the decision to get a vaccine, people continue to think about potential side effects, what might happen if they have an adverse reaction, how the vaccine might affect their health and that it is too soon to see if there are long-term side effects. They are also concerned about whether the vaccine will be effective against new variants.

Getting the vaccine

  • Of those not yet vaccinated:
    • 30% would prefer to go for a vaccine on their own
    • 41% would like to able to go for a vaccine at the same time as other members of their whānau/family
    • 11% wanted at the same time as those for whom they provide care or support, regardless of the age of the members of their whānau/family, or the respondent’s age.
  • Overall, 25% of respondents, not yet vaccinated, want to be vaccinated immediately.

Communication and information

  • A number of findings about information sources changed markedly compared with July, with the move to Level 4 lockdown taking place a week before the survey began.
  • People became more likely to seek out breaking news from mass media sources such as websites, TV, social media and online news sites. Sources of one-to-one communication (for example, about vaccination bookings) via text and email remained important but preference for these channels declined.
  • August results showed a sharp increase in the top six sources of official information and advertising, led by social media (up 18%) and news websites (up 15%).
  • Most respondents (95%) said they had seen an official COVID-19 information and vaccine advertisement in the 30 days leading up to taking the survey.
  • Websites rose to 48% from 36% in July as the top place where respondents would prefer to get information on the COVID-19 vaccine, followed by TV News, email, social media and online news media.
  • For those respondents who are not yet vaccinated and need more information, the main things they want to know continue to be information on side effects and risks and on the long-term effects of the vaccine based on longer and/or more clinical studies.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – August 2021 (PDF, 226 KB)

At a glance – July 2021

Accepting a vaccine

  • 71% of respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get vaccine, a similar result to June (72%).
    • 67% of Māori respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get a vaccine.
    • 62% of Pasifika respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get a vaccine.
    • Respondents of Indian (85%) or Asian (83%) ethnicity, not already vaccinated, are more likely to get a vaccine compared with other ethnicities.
  • 9% of respondents not already vaccinated said they were unsure if they would get a vaccine. (June also 9%)
  • The overall potential uptake, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine is estimated to be 79%, from 77% in June, 80% in May and 77% in April. The difference from June is not statistically significant and the result should be regarded as “no change”.
  • Overall potential uptake by Māori respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, was 73% (±4.5%), compared with 74% in June; i.e., “no change”.
  • Overall potential uptake by Pasifika respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, increased to 72% up from 63% (±11.5%) in June. (Note: the total Pasifika sample size was 157, in line with their population proportion, so results are less statistically reliable and should be treated as an indication only.)
  • Overall potential uptake by respondents who identify as disabled is 81%.
  • Respondents under 18 years old and between 45-54 years old are the most unsure about getting a vaccine.
  • Overall, 82% of respondents felt that it was important that everyone in New Zealand who was able to be vaccinated, was vaccinated.
  • If the vaccine is made available for 12 to 15-year olds, the number of caregivers likely to allow the children they care for to be vaccinated remains steady at 67% (58% in June).
  • Pasifika and “Other European” respondents were the least likely to allow the 12 to 17-year-olds for whom they were the primary caregiver to be vaccinated as in June.

Barriers to uptake

  • 20% of respondents not already vaccinated say they are unlikely to have a vaccine, a similar level to June (19%). Of that 20%, 11% will “definitely not” get a vaccine (10% in June). Note that it is likely that, as the number vaccinated increases, those who are unlikely to get a vaccine will form a higher proportion of those who have not yet been vaccinated.
  • Respondents aged 18-24 years are the least likely to get a vaccine.
  • The main reasons for being unsure, or unlikely to get a vaccine, continue to be concerns about long-term effects, safety, and waiting to see if others have side-effects.
  • 43% of respondents who will ‘definitely not’ get a vaccine say they don’t see the need to get a vaccine, this is a decrease from June 2021 (55%).
  • DHB regions where the likelihood for respondents to accept a vaccine is lower than the national average include Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Whanganui, Nelson Marlborough and South Canterbury.

Making the decision to get a vaccine

  • The things that would most influence respondents who were not yet vaccinated were: That a vaccine had been through extensive, properly conducted clinical trials, hat being vaccinated is helping protect the health of their family/ whānau and those closest to them, helping to end the pandemic more quickly, and helping to protect all New Zealanders. This is followed by the benefits of vaccination outweighing any risks, information about side effects and helping reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and the prospect of further lockdowns and economic harm.
  • In making the decision to get a vaccine, people continue to think about potential side effects, what might happen if they have an adverse reaction, how the vaccine will affect their health and that it is too soon to see if there are long-term side effects. They are also concerned about whether the vaccine will be effective against new variants.

Getting the vaccine

  • Respondents would prefer to get a vaccine from their doctor (65%), a practice nurse (33%), a ‘pop up’ clinic (28%) or pharmacy (26%).
  • 42% would prefer to go for a vaccine on their own.  53% of respondents would like to able to go for a vaccine at the same time as other members of their whānau/family or at the same time as those whom they provide care or support, regardless of the age of the members of their whānau/family, or the respondent’s age.
  • Overall, 24% of respondents, not yet vaccinated, want to be vaccinated immediately.
  • 60% of respondents, not already vaccinated, support the plan to offer vaccines according to the age groups people are in and 24% say they “neither support nor oppose” the plan.

Communication and information 

  • Most respondents (89%) said they had seen an official COVID-19 information and vaccine advertisement in the 30 days leading up to taking the survey.
  • TVNZ, followed by Facebook, Ministry of Health website, Stuff.co.nz, Unite Against COVID-19 website, and commercial television are the top places where respondents have seen, heard or found information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Respondents who are more likely to need more information are more likely to be Māori or Pasifika, to be in an occupation that is generally lower paid or have a low household income.
  • For those respondents, not vaccinated, who need more information, the main things they need to know continue to be information on side effects and risks, and on the long-term effects of the vaccine, based on longer and/or more clinical studies.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – July 2021 (PDF, 219 KB)

At a glance – June 2021

Accepting a vaccine

  • 72% of respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get vaccine, down from 77% in May.
    • 66% of Māori respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get a vaccine.
    • 55% of Pasifika respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get a vaccine.
    • Respondents of Indian (87%) or Asian (84%) ethnicity, not already vaccinated, are more likely to get a vaccine compared with other ethnicities.
  • 9% of respondents not already vaccinated said they were unsure if they would get a vaccine.
  • There has been no significant change to the overall potential uptake, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine. This is estimated to be 77%, from 80% in May, 77% in April and 69% in March. The difference from the May and April results is not statistically significant and the result should be regarded as “no change”.
  • Overall potential uptake by Māori respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, remains steady at 74% (75% in May).
  • Overall potential uptake by Pasifika respondents, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, has dropped to 63% from 78% in May, but up slightly from 59% in March 2021. (Note: the Pasifika sample size was 72, in line with their population proportion, so results are less statistically reliable and should be treated as an indication only.)
  • Overall potential uptake by respondents who identify as disabled is 80%.
  • Respondents under 18 years old and between 34-44 years old are the most unsure about getting a vaccine.
  • Overall, 81% of respondents felt that it was important that everyone in New Zealand who was able to be vaccinated, was vaccinated.
  • If the vaccine is made available for 12 to 15-year olds, the number of caregivers likely to allow the children they care for to be vaccinated remains steady at 58% (55% in May).
  • Pasifika and “Other European” respondents were the least likely to allow the 12 to 17-year-olds for whom they were the primary caregiver to be vaccinated, while Māori were the most likely to allow them to be vaccinated.

Barriers to uptake

  • 19% of respondents not already vaccinated say they are unlikely to have a vaccine, up from 15% in May. Of that 19%, 10% will “definitely not” get a vaccine (7% in May). Note that it is likely that, as the number vaccinated increases, those who are unlikely to get a vaccine will form a higher proportion of those who have not yet been vaccinated.
  • Respondents aged 24-34 years are the least likely to get a vaccine.
  • The main reasons for being unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine continue to be concerns about long-term effects, safety and waiting to see if others have side-effects.
  • 43% of respondents who will ‘definitely not’ get a vaccine say they don’t see the need to get a vaccine, this is a decrease from May 2021 (55%).
  • DHB regions where the likelihood for respondents to accept a vaccine is lower than the national average include Counties Manukau, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, West Coast, Whanganui, Nelson/ Marlborough and South Canterbury.

Making the decision to get a vaccine

  • Half of respondents not yet vaccinated say that helping protect the health of their family/ whānau and those closest to them is a key reason that will influence them to get a vaccine, this is followed by helping to protect all New Zealanders and helping reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and the prospect of further lockdowns and economic harm.
  • In making the decision to get a vaccine, people continue to think about potential side effects, what might happen if they have an adverse reaction, how the vaccine will affect their health and that it is too soon to see if there are long-term side effects.
  • Compared with the May results, Māori respondents who have not yet been vaccinated are more concerned about side effects and how the side effects might affect them, and Pasifika respondents appear to be more nervous about getting the vaccine.

Getting the vaccine

  • Respondents would prefer to get a vaccine from their doctor (70%), a practice nurse (39%), pharmacy (28%) or a ‘pop up’ clinic (28%).
  • 69% of respondents would like to able to go for a vaccine at the same time as other members of their whānau/family regardless of the age of the members of their whānau/family, or the respondent’s age.
  • Overall, a quarter of respondents, not yet vaccinated, want to be vaccinated immediately; this rises to a third for people in groups 3 and 4.
  • 65% of respondents, not already vaccinated, support the plan to offer vaccines according to the age groups people are in and 23% say they “neither support nor oppose” the plan.
  • Those respondents who live with impairments or long-term health conditions and those who identify as disabled are more likely than average to respond to a personal conversation with a health provider they trust.

Communication and information

  • Almost all respondents (91%) said they had seen an official COVID-19 information and vaccine advertisement in the 30 days leading up to taking the survey.
  • TVNZ, followed by Facebook, Stuff.co.nz and commercial television remain the top places where respondents have seen, heard or found information on the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Respondents who are more likely to need more information are more likely to be Māori, a home-maker (not otherwise employed), from a one parent home with one or two children at home, be a teacher, nurse, in the police or other trained service worker, or have a low household income.
  • For those respondents, not vaccinated, who need more information, the main things they need to know are information on side effects and risks, and on the long-term effects of the vaccine, based on longer and/or more clinical studies.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – June 2021 (PDF, 134 KB)

At a glance – May 2021

Accepting a vaccine

  • 77% of respondents not already vaccinated said they were likely to get vaccine.
  • Overall potential uptake, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, has increased to 80%, up from 77% in April and 69% in March.
  • Overall, 3,263,300 out of the estimated 4,082,500 New Zealanders aged 16+ say they are likely to get vaccinated or have already been vaccinated.
  • Māori potential uptake, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, is now at 75%, up from 71% in April 2021.
  • Pasifika potential uptake, including those already vaccinated and those who are likely to get a vaccine, is steady at 78%, similar to 79% in April 2021, but up from 59% in March 2021.
  • If the vaccine is made available for 12 to 15-year olds, 55% of caregivers are likely to allow the children they care for to be vaccinated.

Barriers to uptake

  • Those who are unlikely to have a vaccine if offered remains steady at 13% (12% in April 2021). Of those, 7% will “definitely not” get a vaccine. Note that it is likely that, as the number vaccinated increases, those who are unlikely to get a vaccine will form a higher proportion of those who have not yet been vaccinated.
  • The highest percentage of respondents unlikely to get vaccinated are in Group 4, at 16%, with another 9% unsure. Those aged 45-54 years are the least likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The main reasons for being unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine continues to be concerns about long-term effects, safety and waiting to see if others have side-effects.
  • 55% of respondents who will ‘definitely not’ get a vaccine say they don’t see the need to get a vaccine.
  • If the vaccine is made available for 12 to 15-year olds, 16% of caregivers will ‘definitely not’ allow the children they care for to be vaccinated, up from 10% in April. The main reason for this is needing to be assured about vaccine safety for children.
  • Respondents who identified as disabled are more likely to reject getting vaccinated now (13%) than in April (8%), but are less likely to now be unsure (7% compared with 23% in April).
  • Respondents who identified as disabled said the reason they were unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine were:
    • they don't see the need to take a COVID-19 vaccine (54 compared with 21% overall)
    • they don’t trust any vaccine (31 compared with 18% overall)
    • they don’t take any vaccine (27 compared with 8% overall)
    • because of religious beliefs (23 compared with 4% overall).
  • DHB regions where the likelihood for respondents to accept a vaccine is lower than the national average include Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, and South Canterbury. (Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti, Taranaki and South Canterbury DHB sample sizes were less than 50, in line with their population proportion, so results are less statistically reliable and should be treated as an indication only.)

Making the decision to get a vaccine

  • 56% of respondents say that helping to protect all New Zealanders is a key reason that will influence them to get a vaccine.
  • In making the decision to get a vaccine, people continue to think about potential side effects, what might happen if they have an adverse reaction, how the vaccine will affect their health and that it is too soon see if there are long-term side effects.
  • People who are unlikely to get a vaccine or unsure will be influenced by information about side effects, knowing the vaccine has been through extensive trials and approved by Medsafe, and, to some extent, helping them to travel internationally.
  • As with the last report, people who live with impairments or long-term health conditions and those who identify as disabled were more concerned than average about whether the vaccine will adversely affect their existing medical conditions and symptoms, and whether it will leave their health worse overall.
  • Those who identify as disabled continue to be more worried than average that there will be unknown side effects and, particularly, how the side-effects may affect them.
  • Under 18-year-olds and people aged 45 to 54 have a higher level of concern about the vaccine compared with other age ranges, and are concerned about side effects, how the vaccine will affect their health, what might happen if they have a reaction and long-term effects.

Getting the vaccine

  • Respondents would prefer to get a vaccine from their doctor (68%), a practice nurse (39%) or a ‘pop up’ clinic (35%).
  • 30% of respondents believe they will be able to get vaccinated as soon the rollout for their group begins.
  • 53% of respondents believe the vaccine rollout timing will depend on the supply of the vaccine to New Zealand.
  • 44% of respondents believe the rollout programme may be different in different DHBs.
  • A quarter of respondents think the Ministry of Health is deciding how the rollout will happen in their region; a third think their DHB will.
  • 44% of respondents in Group 3 said they did not know how they would be offered a vaccine and 29% were not sure.
  • 50% of respondents in Group 3 said they did not know when they would be offered a vaccine and 26% were not sure.

Influencing uptake

  • 99% of respondents who have already been vaccinated are prepared to recommend getting vaccinated to people they know, and 75% will “recommend it to everyone”.
  • 34% of those who know someone who has been vaccinated (57% of total respondents) say that knowing someone who has had a COVID-19 vaccine makes them more inclined to do so themselves; 56% said it wouldn’t influence their decision.
  • As with the last report, those who live with impairments or long-term health conditions and those who identify as disabled are more likely than average to respond to a personal conversation with a health provider they trust when it comes to influencing their decision.

Confidence in and knowledge about the vaccine

  • 77% of respondents believe people in New Zealand can choose whether or not to get vaccinated.
  • 72% of respondents believe people who have been vaccinated can still catch COVID-19, up from 57% in April.
  • Three-quarters believe they will need to continue with protective behaviours after being vaccinated.
  • Over the last three months, there has been an increase in the belief that people who have been vaccinated can still pass on COVID-19 to others, up to 54% from 44% in April and 40% in March. 32% currently are unsure.
  • Respondents who are vaccinated are more likely to believe that they could still pass on the COVID-19 virus to others (72%).

Communication and information

  • The number of people who feel like they have all the information they need before deciding whether or not to get a vaccine has increased to 67% from 58% in April (56% in February and March).
  • Of those who have already received a vaccine, 92% felt they received enough information about their vaccination, slightly lower than 97% in April.
  • The two main things respondents want more information about are side effects and risks (27%) and the long-term effects of the vaccine, based on longer and/or more clinical studies (16%).
  • Respondents want more information on the logistics of how they will get their vaccine, to know that the information they receive is honest, more detailed content and more information on side effects.
  • Television (59%) is the primary place where respondents have seen official COVID-19 information advertising, in the past 30 days, followed by social media (20%) and radio (19%).

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – May 2021 (PDF, 136 KB)

At a glance – April 2021

Accepting a vaccine

(The statistics for potential uptake “overall”, “Māori” and “Pasifika” include those who have already been vaccinated.)

  • Potential uptake has increased to 77% from 69% in March 2021.
  • Overall, 3,147,200 out of the estimated 4,082,500 New Zealanders aged 16+ say they are likely to get vaccinated or have already been vaccinated.
  • Māori potential uptake is now at 71%, up from 64% in March 2021.
  • Pasifika potential uptake has increased to 79%, up significantly from 59% in March 2021.
  • Those aged 65+ continue to be more likely to get a vaccine than other age groups.
  • The number of Māori and Pasifika respondents who were unsure if they would take a vaccine has dropped since March 2021 (from 18 to 12% and 32 to 9% respectively).
  • If the vaccine is made available for 12 to 15-year olds, 56% of caregivers are likely to allow the children they care for to be vaccinated.
  • While those who identified as disabled are more likely to be unsure about getting a vaccine, they are less likely to reject getting vaccinated than the overall population.

Barriers to uptake

  • Those who are unlikely to have a vaccine if offered has dropped to 12% from 20% in March 2021. Of those, 7.8% will “definitely not” get a vaccine, slightly lower than previous surveys.
  • The highest percentage of people unlikely to get vaccinated are in Group 4, at 14%, with another 13% unsure.
  • The main reasons for being unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine are concerns about long-term effects, safety and waiting to see if others have side effects.
  • 11% of those who are unsure or unlikely to get a vaccine say they have had a bad experience in the past when taking a vaccine.
  • 15% of respondents are unsure if they have to pay for the vaccine and 4% believe they do have to pay for the vaccine. This has decreased since March 2021.
  • DHB regions where the likelihood for respondents to accept a vaccine is lower than the national average include Waikato, Lakes, Tairawhiti, Whanganui, Hutt, Wairarapa, West Coast and South Canterbury. (Lakes, Tairawhiti, Whanganui, Hutt, Waiarapa, West Coast and South Canterbury DHB sample sizes were less than 50, in line with their population proportion, so results are less statistically reliable and should be treated as an indication only.)

Making the decision to get a vaccine

  • The key factor that would convince people to get the vaccine is that it is proven effective and guaranteed safe with no major side effects.
  • In making the decision to get a vaccine, people think about potential side effects, what might happen if they have an adverse reaction, how the vaccine will affect their health and that it is too soon see if there are long-term side effects.
  • People who live with impairments or long-term health conditions and those who identify as disabled are more concerned than average about whether the vaccine will adversely affect their existing medical conditions and symptoms and whether it will leave their health worse overall.

Influencing uptake

  • The Director General of Health (41%) and the Prime Minister (34%) have significantly more impact than TV or radio personalities (14%), sports stars (16%) and other well-known/high profile people (17%) in influencing people to get vaccinated.
    • Each of these potential role models will have significantly less impact on Māori than on other ethnicities.
    • Influencers will be most effective on those who are likely to get vaccinated and possibly help reinforce their decision.
  • Those who live with impairments or long-term health conditions and those who identify as disabled are more likely than average to respond to a personal conversation with a health provider they trust when it comes to influencing their decision.

Confidence in and knowledge about the vaccine

  • Brand of vaccine will impact the decision of one in six (an estimated 557,500) of those who are either likely to get a vaccine or are unsure.
    • Most of those who say brand will impact their decision to accept a vaccine were concerned about potential blood clotting caused by vaccines.
  • 26% of respondents say they know what the side effects will be after taking a vaccine. Asked what they thought the side effects of the vaccine were:
    • 29% said blood clots (noting that while the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is not prone to blood clotting, it should not be assumed that people know that)
    • aching, flu-like or cold-like symptoms (28%)
    • localised pain or soreness (23%).
  • Approximately 50% of respondents do not know what the side effects of the vaccine are.
  • Just over half of respondents (57%) believe that people who have been vaccinated can still get COVID-19.
  • Just under half of respondents (44%) believe that people who have been vaccinated can still pass on COVID-19 to others. 36% are unsure.
  • Overall, the number of people who are concerned about whether or not the vaccine has gone through extensive, properly conducted, medical trials has dropped to 36% from 60% in December 2020.

Communication and information

  • Of those who have already received a vaccine, 97% felt they received enough information about their vaccination.
  • People who need to be assured about the vaccine’s safety want more information on:
    • side effects and risks particularly in relation to blood clots
    • the long-term effects of the vaccine based on longer and/or more clinical studies (particularly for those who are unlikely to get vaccinated).
  • More than other ethnic groups, Asian and Indian respondents said social media posts and what other people say would impact decision on whether to take a vaccine.
  • 38% had encountered what they believed to be misinformation.
    • The main sources were social media (65%) followed by friends or family (32%) then mainstream media (25%).
    • 61% who had seen misinformation indicated they would look for official information to verify it.
    • 9% of those who had seen something they thought was misinformation would not get a vaccine if the misinformation they saw actually alarmed them; this increases to 15% for people who identify as disabled.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – April 2021 (PDF, 134 KB)

At a glance – March 2021

Accepting a vaccine

  • There is demand to access the vaccine early, with 15% (an estimated 612,200 adults) stating they would take it immediately if it was available.
  • Across the past seven months of research, the percentage of those likely to take a vaccine remains steady, with 69% of respondents prepared to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • While people’s intention to accept or not accept a COVID-19 vaccine remains steady, the number of those who said they were unsure or unlikely to take a vaccine and who needed assurances about vaccine safety overall has fallen 11% since December 2020 to 40%.

Barriers to uptake

  • Over the past seven months of research, the number of people in the general population who will definitely not take a vaccine remains unchanged. This number is unlikely to change greatly and is predicted to remain at about 9.4%.
  • 20% of respondents (including the ‘definitely not’ 9.4%) are unlikely to have a COVID-19 vaccine if offered (an estimated 798,000 adults). This remains steady.
  • The number of respondents who were unsure if they would take a COVID-19 vaccine is similar to the September and December results, with 11% unsure, and marginally higher than the February results (7%).
  • The percentage of Māori and Pasifika who are unlikely to take a vaccine has dropped substantially from a peak in December 2020 – 27% to 18% and 34% to 9% respectively. However, those who will likely take a vaccine has not changed as significantly.
  • Those who are unlikely to take the vaccine are likely to believe that the vaccine is not free.
  • The main reasons for not taking a vaccine continue to be about long-term effects, effects on health and that it might not be effective. Noting that concerns about side-effects have declined slightly, while concerns about long-term effects are now the main reason for not taking a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • People in Groups 3 and 4 of the rollout plan have a better understanding of what group they fall into, whereas people who are in Groups 1 and 2 were less sure of what group they are in.

Confidence in the vaccine

  • Around two-thirds of respondents were confident that any vaccine made available in New Zealand would prevent COVID-19 infection or severe death/illness from COVID-19. This has not changed since December 2020 when it was 67%.
  • Confidence in COVID-19 vaccines meeting safety and quality standards is 70% and has remained steady since December 2020.
  • New Zealanders appear to be requiring less reassurance on clinical trials and side effects than seen in the December 2020 and February 2021 research, but both of these remain major considerations for those who are unlikely to take a vaccine.

Factors that can influence uptake

Factors that can influence vaccine acceptance remain similar to previous surveys but focus more on the benefits of the vaccine rather than testing and approvals

These include:

  • Helping to protect all New Zealanders.
  • The vaccine is free.
  • Helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic more quickly.
  • Helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and the prospect of further lockdowns and economic harm.
  • Being vaccinated will protect me from the effects of COVID-19.

Communication and information needs

  • There continues to be a need for more information to help people decide whether to take the COVID-19 vaccine; in particular for Pasifika.
  • The key assurances/messages most sought by those currently not choosing to take a vaccine are about long-term side effects and safety (58% and 40% respectively).
  • When asked what information people needed about the rollout plan, respondents who had not yet had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine said they wanted to know more about:
    • the vaccine’s side effects and what would happen if they had an adverse reaction.
    • where and when to get a vaccination, how to make an appointment/book for a vaccination and whether they had a choice of location.
    • how the vaccine works and what is in it.
  • Of those who have already received a vaccine, 92% felt they received enough information about their vaccination.
  • Television New Zealand (TVNZ) is by far the most common source of information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – March 2021 (PDF, 137 KB)

At a glance – February 2021

Accepting a vaccine

  • Across the past six months, the percentage of those likely to take a vaccine remains steady, with 71.4% of respondents (an estimated 2,662,700 adults) prepared to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Those aged 65+ years continue to be the most likely to take a vaccine, followed by those aged 18–24 years.
  • The number of 18–24 year olds who would definitely take a vaccine has increased by 20% since December 2020 (48% in February up from 28% in December 2020).
  • People indicated their preferred locations to receive a vaccination were:
    • via a general practitioner
    • a practice nurse
    • a medical specialist
    • at a pharmacy or hospital
    • via a district health nurse
    • at a ‘pop-up’ community vaccination service.

Barriers to uptake

  • Over the past six months, the number of people in the general population who will definitely not take a vaccine remains relatively unchanged.
  • This number is unlikely to change greatly and is predicted to remain at about 9.5%.
  • 7.2% (an estimated 257,300 adults) were unsure if they would take a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 21.4% of respondents (including the ‘definitely not’ 9.5%) are unlikely to have a COVID-19 vaccine if offered (an estimated 798,000 adults). This is a slight decrease from the previous survey.
  • The main concerns about taking a vaccine continue to be about side effects, any long-term effects from the vaccine, effects on health and that it might not be effective.
  • 70% of those who are likely to take a vaccine (even those who ‘definitely will’) indicate a need for more information (an estimated 1,869,300 adults), including side effects, contraindications and adverse reactions.
  • Pasifika, Asian and Indian have the highest need for more information overall.
  • People who are unlikely to take an offered COVID-19 vaccine remains the same. They are more likely to:
    • be female
    • have a lower household income than those who are likely to take a vaccine if offered
    • have lower educational qualifications than those who are likely to take a vaccine if offered
    • be a parent with children in their household.

Safety

  • Two-thirds of respondents were confident that any vaccine made available in New Zealand would prevent COVID-19 infection or severe death/illness from COVID-19.
  • While confidence in COVID-19 vaccines meeting safety and quality standards has gradually increased over the last three months, the major reasons for hesitancy remains concern about the vaccine’s safety.

Factors that can influence uptake remain the same

  • The vaccine is free.
  • The vaccine has been through extensive, properly conducted, clinical trials.
  • Helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and the prospect of further lockdowns and economic harm.
  • Helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic more quickly.
  • Helping protect the health of my family and those closest to me.

Channels for communication

Over the past six months, the most trusted avenues for people to get their information continue to be the Ministry of Health (health.govt.nz), the Director General of Health, individuals’ own general practitioners, and medical specialists.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – February 2021 (PDF, 131 KB)

At a glance – September and December 2020

Accepting a vaccine

  • 69% (an estimated 2,487,900 adults) of respondents are prepared to receive a “well tested and approved” COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Uptake is likely to be highest among those aged 65 and over.

Barriers to uptake

  • 24% of respondents indicated that they would be unlikely to have a COVID-19 vaccine if offered.
  • 16% of New Zealand adults will not accept an offered vaccine. Between the first and the second Horizon Research reports, there is a slight increase in overall vaccine hesitancy (if not a reduction in overall ‘acceptance’ numbers).
  • Pasifika and Māori have less confidence in the safety and quality of the vaccine and of its protection.
  • People who are unlikely to take an offered COVID-19 vaccine are more likely to:
    • be female
    • have a lower household income than those who are likely to take a vaccine if offered
    • have lower educational qualifications than those who are likely to take a vaccine if offered
    • be a parent with children in their household
  • Māori, Pasifika and Other European, and people who are 35-44 years, are less willing to take a follow-up vaccine.
  • In December, 72% (2,574,200) of respondents are prepared to have a follow-up dose if required, up 3% from September.
  • 18% (an estimated 652,600 adults) are unlikely to have a follow-up dose if required.
  • Respondents of Māori, Pasifika and “Other European” ethnicities had lower than average willingness to take a follow-up vaccine.

Safety

  • The major reasons for hesitancy towards a vaccine are concerns regarding the vaccine’s safety. This is particularly the case for females.
  • When considering whether to take a COVID-19 vaccine, the top four thoughts that New Zealanders have are about potential side effects.
  • A third of people believe vaccines can be approved without knowing all the potential side effects.

Key insights that will influence uptake and understanding of the rollout approach

  • Māori are marginally more likely to take the vaccine if they could ‘talk to someone about it’ first.
  • People are more receptive to recommendations from the Ministry of Health, the Director General of Health, medical specialists, GPs and the World Health Organisation than to recommendations from Ministers, the Prime Minister, friends, family, iwi or hapū leaders, and church leaders.
  • 21% of participants said they would not take a COVID-19 vaccine if a social media post or video alarmed them or was opposed to COVID-19 vaccines and looked credible.
  • There is broad understanding and support for prioritising the rollout to groups and individuals who are at highest risk (border workers/health workers) and/or more vulnerable.

Download the report

At a glance – COVID-19 vaccine research insights – September and December 2020 (PDF, 129 KB)

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