Consumer Preferences for COVID-19 Vaccine

In our March 2021 edition of the Consumer Omnibus survey, we used conjoint analysis to uncover consumers' preferences and opinions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine as roll-outs begin taking place in UK and US.

With countries such as the UK and US beginning their COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and China’s vaccines currently in its final stages of approval with WHO, we uncover consumers’ preferences and opinions towards receiving the vaccine. Prompted by the conjoint study Individual Preferences for COVID-19 Vaccination in China (Lang et al., 2020), we undertook a similar survey among UK and US respondents.

Our previous May 2020 — December 2020 omnibus editions cover topics surrounding UK and US consumers’ behaviour during the pandemic, including their emotions, finances, and general lifestyles. This edition also compares trending data from our previous surveys to observe the changes that have occurred over this time and to provide further context for our conjoint analysis study.

Conjoint Survey Design

We aimed to closely replicate the original survey’s design, but made the following changes to some of the attributes and levels (as outlined in the image below):

  • We removed “Vaccination sites” as an attribute as the levels did not translate to the UK and US healthcare systems. We instead opted for a separate Likert scale question: “How important is it to you that you get vaccinated at a major medical centre (e.g. hospital) versus a community medical centre (e.g. neighbourhood clinic)?” to gauge respondents’ preferences.

  • We removed the “Voluntary” and “Compulsory” levels from the attribute “Access to vaccine” as results would not be accurate in conjunction with cost. Instead, we asked respondents to choose between “Subsidised” and “Unsubsidised” in relation to their preferred access to the vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine attributes and levels


The study uncovered useful information about UK and US consumers’ preferences and opinions in terms of receiving the vaccine. We also assessed our conjoint study results in conjunction with results from the Chinese study. Here are the highlights from our findings:

Most consumers would receive the COVID-19 vaccine

Almost half the UK population have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine with the US not far behind at about 40%, so it is expected that the majority of consumers are willing to receive it. Whilst most consumers from both countries say they would “Definitely take it”, UK consumers have shown higher levels of acceptance than the US.

Consumer acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine

Consumers’ vaccine acceptance are linked to brand awareness

Consumers in both countries were most willing to receive vaccines from the brands they recognised most (which differs between each country). This link is possibly due to increased trust from brand awareness. UK consumers are most willing to take the Oxford and Pfizer vaccines whilst the US prefer Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.

Brand awareness and preferences for COVID-19 vaccine

Consumers care most about the vaccine’s effectiveness

The Conjointly study contains similar results to the Chinese study in terms of importance of attributes; high vaccine effectiveness, low risk of side effects and a long period of protection are consistently the most important factors across UK and USA in terms of increasing acceptance of vaccination.

Vaccine attributes for COVID-19 vaccine conjoint study

Vaccine-hesitant consumers in the US are least receptive to vaccine improvements

The rapid spread of misinformation and anti-vax movements in the US have made the COVID-19 vaccine a controversial topic. When choosing whether to vaccinate, hesitant people in the USA are less responsive to improvements in characteristics of vaccine than those in the UK and China.

Vaccine hesitant consumers' reception to improved attributes

China results are based on Figure 2 extracted from ‘Individual preferences for COVID-19 vaccination in China’ (Leng et al. 2020, p. 252).1

UK vaccine-hesitant consumers are swayed most by high vaccine effectiveness, subsidisation, and lower risks of side effects…

Simulations for vaccine-hesitant consumers in the UK

…whilst Vaccine effectiveness and subsidisation would most effectively convince those in the US.

Simulations for vaccine-hesitant consumers in the US


  • The UK, US, and China’s unanimity regarding the vaccine’s most important attributes suggests widespread concern regarding effectiveness, side effects, and length of protection.

  • Generally, messaging about vaccine effectiveness and free access are most likely to increase acceptance of the vaccine among hesitant people in the US and UK.

  • Compared to the UK and USA, Chinese consumers are most receptive to improvement in vaccine attributes (e.g. lower probability of side-effects). This may suggest that vaccine hesitant consumers in the UK, but especially the US, hold firmer reservations against the vaccine beyond these attributes, such as social and political views.

March 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine Preferences & Consumer Trends Survey

Download a copy of our March Edition's full survey results.

  1. Leng, A., Maitland, E., Nicholas, S., Liu, R., Wang, J. and Wang, S., 2020. Individual Preferences for COVID-19 Vaccination in China. SSRN Electronic Journal, [online] Vaccine 39(2), pp.247-254. Available at:↩︎

Written on 27 April 2021 by:
Catherine Chipeta image
Catherine Chipeta
Content Writer
Edward Teh image
Edward Teh
Market Research Assistant

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