Age and political leaning predict COVID-19 vaccination status at a large, multi-campus, public university in Pennsylvania: A cross-sectional survey

Ryan Murphy, Lauren Pomerantz, Prabhani Kuruppumullage Don, Jun Sung Kim, Bradley A. Long

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Introduction Vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted many higher education institutions. Understanding the factors associated with vaccine hesitancy and uptake is instrumental in directing policies and disseminating reliable information during public health emergencies. Objective This study evaluates associations between age, gender, and political leaning in relationship to COVID-19 vaccination status among a large, multi-campus, public university in Pennsylvania. Methods From October 5—November 30, 2021, a 10-minute REDCap survey was available to students, faculty, and staff 18 years of age and older at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). Recruitment included targeted email, social media, digital advertisements, and university newspapers. 4,231 responses were received. Associations between the selected factors and vaccine hesitancy were made with Chi-square tests and generalized linear regression models using R version 4.3.1 (2023-06-16). Results Logistic regression approach suggested that age and political leaning have a statistically significant association with vaccine hesitancy at the 5% level. Adjusted for political leaning, odds of being vaccinated is 4 times higher for those aged 56 years or older compared to the ones aged 18 to 20 (OR = 4.35, 95% CI = (2.82, 6.85), p-value < 0.05). The results also showed that adjusted for age, the odds of being vaccinated is about 3 times higher for liberal individuals compared to far-left individuals (OR = 2.85, 95% CI = (1.45, 5.41), p-value = 0.001). Conclusions Age and political leaning are key predictors of vaccine uptake among members of the PSU community, knowledge of which may inform campus leadership’s public health efforts such as vaccine campaigns and policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0291974
JournalPloS one
Issue number9 September
StatePublished - Sep 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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