Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Brian Doctor

Second Advisor

Wayne Gray

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

The trials, tribulations and triumphs of the global COVID-19 pandemic are impacted by and are a product of behaviors that occur at the level of nations, states, cities and, ultimately, communities. In the wake of the development of safe and effective vaccines against SARS-CoV2, the virus responsible for the pandemic, the significance of the vaccine is closely linked to the number of individuals that receive the vaccine. To date, surveys have measured sizable variations in vaccination rates between nations, states, cities, and communities. Focusing on events that have transpired in one such local community, the present study (i) measured the vaccination rate of the undergraduate students at the University of Mississippi, (ii) evaluated the influence that social, family, religious and political interactions had on their vaccination decision, and (iii) assessed how well an individual’s health beliefs predicted their decision on vaccination. This anonymous survey was administered through Qualtrics to the university students’ email over a two-month period from February to March of 2022. Of the students that responded (n=1,200), 78% had been vaccinated. This number is substantially higher than the reported vaccination rate for Mississippi residents between 18 and 24 years old (50%) but notably similar to the national vaccination rates for the same age group (77.5%). A number of potential factors directly paralleled the student's decision to be vaccinated. Further, those students that held a greater understanding of the potential disease severity and potential benefits from vaccination had higher rates of vaccination. The present studies represent an initial step forward in preparing for the next pandemic by developing evidence-based methods to allay the concerns that drive vaccination hesitancy in UM students.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Available for download on Saturday, May 06, 2023

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