Denis Ivanov (National Research University Higher School of Economics): COVID-19 Vaccines Efficacy and Public Support for Anti-Pandemic Measures

Co-author: Ekaterina Borisova (National Research University Higher School of Economics) entitled


Although many COVID-19 vaccines are currently under development, their safety and effectiveness cannot be ensured. At the same time, many jurisdictions reimpose full or partial lockdowns as a response to increasing number of cases, as well as mandate social distancing and mask-wearing in public spaces. We use random assignment of vignettes featuring optimistic and pessimistic scenarios with respect to the vaccine efficacy on a sample of 1,600 Russians to gauge public support for anti-pandemic measures under different scenarios. We show that the respondents who are afraid of being infected with SARS-CoV-2  are significantly more likely to support the restrictions, but they also reduce their support for the anti-pandemic measures in case no safe and effective vaccine is found compared to those who received no information treatment. This relationship is particularly strong for the most economically costly measures, namely banning large gathering and shutting down non-essential businesses rather than for mask-wearing. We interpret this as a manifestation of the fatalism effect found in previous studies of compliance with the anti-pandemic restrictions. Our findings imply that in the absence of a clear-cut solution for the COVID-19-related crisis public support for the anti-pandemic restrictions is likely to wane.


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