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Vaccine uptake is essential to managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and vaccine hesitancy is a persistent concern. At the same time, both decision-makers and the general population have high hopes for COVID-19 vaccination. Drawing from qualitative interview data collected in October 2020 as part of the pan-European SolPan study, this study explores early and anticipatory expectations, hopes and fears regarding COVID-19 vaccination across seven European countries. We find that stances towards COVID-19 vaccines were shaped by personal lived experiences, but participants also aligned personal and communal interests in their considerations. Trust, particularly in expert institutions, was an important prerequisite for vaccine acceptance, but participants also expressed doubts about the rapid vaccine development process. Our findings emphasise the need to move beyond the study of factors driving vaccine hesitancy, and instead to focus on how people personally perceive vaccination in their particular social and political context.

Original publication




Journal article


SSM Qual Res Health

Publication Date





Europe, Pandemic, Qualitative research, SARS-CoV-2, Vaccination policy, Vaccine hesitancy