Public attitudes on vaccine distribution
If and when a safe and effective vaccine that prevents the spread of COVID-19 becomes available, consideration will need to be given to a distribution method not only maximises its effectiveness, but also has support from the general population. The aim of this paper is to summarise the results from a survey experiment on a probability-based, representative sample of the Australian population during mid-August 2020 that tested explicitly the relative weight that Australians put on different characteristics of individuals in terms of who should receive a vaccine ahead of others. Demographic characteristics of priority vaccine recipients only had a small effect, with age more important than sex, and ethnicity having no effect. A person’s employment status did have a large effect though, with essential health workers far and away the highest priority as identified by Australians, and paramedics being the specific occupation who Australians feel should receive the vaccine first. In addition, Australians preferred those with a health condition over those without, those in a high COVID-19 area over those in areas with low infections, and those with caring responsibility over those without (in that order). For the most part, preferences were relatively stable across the Australian population, though people tended to preference those who had different characteristics to themselves to receive the vaccine first. The data from this experiment is available through the Australian Data Archive for further interrogation.