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Principal investigator: Professor Christine Huang Yi-hui (Department of Media and Communication)
Rapid spread of Omicron COVID-19 variant hit the globe hard. Booster shots have been introduced in many countries. Meanwhile, to further enhance anti-pandemic measures, the Hong Kong SAR government has extended the requirement to use the contact-tracing app LeaveHomeSafe (LHS) at more premises.
The first survey of 3,190 citizens on their willingness to receive a vaccination was conducted in September 2020 by a research team led by Professor Christine Huang Yi-hui, Associate Dean (Faculty Development) of CityU’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) and Chair Professor in the Department of Media and Communication (COM). In November 2021, Dr Vincent Wang Xiaohui, Assistant Professor in COM joined the team, and a poll of 1,501 respondents from the same group surveyed in 2020 was conducted.
The major findings of the 2021 poll on respondents’ willingness to take a third dose of a vaccine are:
- Nearly 70% (68.9%) of respondents have received two doses. Among this group of 1,034 individuals, nearly half (49.1%) indicated their willingness to get a third jab, while 34.3% expressed their unwillingness, while 16.5% took a neutral stance. (Please refer to Chart 1)
- A clear correlation between gender and willingness to get a third jab was observed. Nearly 60% (59.0%) of male respondents were willing to do so, higher than that of female respondents (41.5%). (Please refer to Chart 2)
- Older respondents were more willing to receive a third dose. Nearly 70% (67.6%) of respondents aged above 50 expressed willingness. (Please refer to Chart 3)
- In terms of education level, respondents with a bachelor’s degree were the least enthusiastic to have a third jab (44.7%). (Please refer to Chart 4)
The major findings on using the LHS app are:
- Nearly 60% (57.0%) of respondents indicated that they often or frequently used the app, while 26.4% expressed that they had never or seldom used it. (Please refer to Chart 5)
- Respondents who were older and had a lower education level were most willing to use the app. The group with the highest frequency of using the app and willingness to recommend it to others were aged above 50 and without senior secondary school education. (Please refer to Charts 6 and 7)
- Citizens’ willingness to receive a third vaccine shot and use the LHS app had a clear correlation with their risk perception of Covid-19, trust in government, and extent of using news media. Specifically, citizens are inclined to get a third jab, use the LHS app, and recommend it to others if they have a high sense of risk of getting infected with the virus, a high trust in the government, and a high frequency of using traditional media such as print media and TV for news about Covid-19.
- Compared to the first survey in 2020, respondents in the latest survey have a lower risk perception of Covid-19, which means they think they are less likely to be infected. Also, they have a higher trust in the central government, the Hong Kong SAR government, and the Food and Health Bureau. Meanwhile, they pay significantly less attention to the news about Covid-19. (Please refer to Chart 8)
“Compared to last year’s poll, citizens’ perception towards vaccines, trust in government, and satisfaction about its prevention work has generally risen, which reflects an affirmation of the hard effort exerted by the government and professional bodies,” said Professor Huang.
“However, we found that citizens’ risk perception and interest in news about Covid-19 have declined during the lengthy pandemic period. This shows that anti-pandemic fatigue has started. We need to introduce measures to reverse this trend, or else it will become difficult to control the pandemic.”
Dr Wang said that as citizens’ willingness to get a third jab and use the LHS app varies significantly according to gender, age and education level, the Hong Kong government may need to adopt different tactics for communicating with specific groups.
“In addition, although senior citizens were more inclined to receive a third dose and use the LHS app, their overall vaccination rate was still lower than in other places such as Singapore. The local government should pay more attention to those people’s needs,” Dr Wang added.