Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

COVID-19 Vaccine Attitudes: Personal Health Decisions Influenced by Misinformation and Politicization

Publication Date



Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Chemistry and Physics, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Davon Ferrara

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


American media has been inundated by discourse surrounding COVID-19, especially since the vaccine rollout. A heavily politicized issue, hesitations pertaining to vaccination cause many to wonder if COVID-19 vaccine acceptance is driven by more than scientific evidence alone. The divisive nature of our political landscape has turned the pandemic from a public health crisis to a partisan campaign token. Trends in public trust in science and media reveal divisions along party lines, further discrediting pushes for widespread vaccination. A great deal of literature has been published examining the politicization and polarization of media concerning COVID-19. Studies have shown how misinformation exposure falls along partisan lines, contributing to the politicization of the public health crisis. In this review, we find that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is different from general vaccine hesitancy, which is predominantly fueled by scientific misunderstanding. The political nature of the pandemic has given COVID-19 a unique position in the public eye, one that has granted vaccine hesitancy new urgency in post-pandemic America. While vaccine hesitancy is seemingly solidified in the public, we suggest a communicative change that could potentially mitigate future hesitancy.

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