"I'll wait for the English one": COVID-19 vaccine country of origin, national identity, and their effects on vaccine perceptions and uptake willingness

Mark Atkinson, Evangelos Ntontis*, Fergus Neville, Stephen Reicher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vaccines can play a crucial role in reducing the negative outcomes of pandemics. In this paper we explore how vaccine perceptions and uptake willingness can be affected by vaccine-related information, the vaccine's country of origin, and national identity. Study 1 (N = 800) showed that a vaccine manufactured by China was perceived more negatively compared to vaccines from the UK, Germany, and Chile. Providing vaccine effectiveness information (83%) increased preference for waiting for an alternative vaccine and reduced perceived effectiveness of a vaccine from China. Brexit supporters perceived vaccines as less safe in general, and particularly thought of a vaccine from China as less competent, effective, and trustworthy, and were less prepared to have it. Study 2 (N = 601) largely replicated findings of Study 1 regarding the effects of a vaccine's country of origin. Moreover, participants who reported a higher sense of British superiority reported more negative attitudes towards a vaccine from China. However, apart from the aforementioned main effects of Study 2, our attempt to manipulate British identity vis a vis a Global identity in order to examine particular national-identity related outcomes was not successful. Overall, vaccine characteristics can interact with various social psychological factors, potentially affecting people's perceptions and willingness to uptake particular measures to support personal and public health.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Early online date10 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jul 2023


  • Brexit
  • COVID-19
  • national identity
  • pandemic
  • vaccination
  • vaccine attitudes
  • vaccine effectiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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