Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

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Immunization programmes have been globally recognized as one of the most successful medical interventions against infectious diseases. Despite the proven efficacy and safety profiles of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, there are still a substantial number of people who express vaccine hesitancy. Factors that influence vaccine decision-making are heterogenous, complex, and context specific and may be caused or amplified by uncontrolled online information or misinformation. With respect to COVID-19, the recent emergence of novel variants of concern that give rise to milder disease also drives vaccine hesitancy. Healthcare professionals remain one of the most trusted groups to advise and provide information to those ambivalent about COVID-19 vaccination and should be equipped with adequate resources and information as well as practical guidance to empower them to effectively discuss concerns. This article seeks to summarize the currently available information to address the most common concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccination.

Keywords: boosters, coronavirus, COVID-19, hesitancy, infectious disease, public health, SARS-CoV-2, vaccination.

Citation: Kassianos G, Puig-Barberà J, Dinse H, Teufel M, Türeci Ö, Pather S. Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. Drugs Context. 2022;11:2021-12-3.

Contributions: All authors contributed equally to the preparation of this review. All named authors meet the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria for authorship for this article and have given their approval for this version to be published.

Disclosure and potential conflicts of interest: HD and MT have nothing to disclose. GK is chairman of the RAISE Pan-European Influenza Group (20 countries), a board member of European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI), National Immunisation Lead of the Royal College of General Practitioners, and President of the British Global & Travel Health Association; he participated in advisory boards or lectured at meetings organized by MSD, Sanofi Vaccines, Pfizer, Seqirus, AstraZeneca, GSK, Valneva, and Janssen and has lectured at meetings organized by the European Parliament, UK Health Security Agency, and ESWI. JPB has previously received honoraria and/or consulting fees from Seqirus and Sanofi Vaccines. SP and ÖT have received salary support from BioNTech SE. ÖT is a cofounder of BioNTech SE and TRON (Translational Oncology Mainz), holds issued patents with BioNTech SE and TRON, and holds BioNTech SE shares. All authors received medical writing support during drafting of this manuscript. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Potential Conflicts of Interests form for the authors is available for download at:

Acknowledgements: Medical writing support, including assisting authors with the development of the outline and initial draft and incorporation of comments was provided by Cindy Cheung, PhD, from Scion, and Camilla West, PhD, and Andrew Finlayson, PhD, from BioNTech, according to Good Publication Practice guidelines.

Funding declaration: BioNTech SE provided funding to the Medical Communications agency Scion for the development of the initial outline and literature search.

Copyright: Copyright © 2022 Kassianos G, Puig-Barberà J, Dinse H, Teufel M, Türeci Ö, Pather S. Published by Drugs in Context under Creative Commons License Deed CC BY NC ND 4.0, which allows anyone to copy, distribute and transmit the article provided it is properly attributed in the manner specified below. No commercial use without permission.

Correct attribution: Copyright © 2022 Kassianos G, Puig-Barberà J, Dinse H, Teufel M, Türeci Ö, Pather S. Published by Drugs in Context under Creative Commons License Deed CC BY NC ND 4.0.

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Correspondence: Shanti Pather, BioNTech SE, Mainz, Germany. Email:

Provenance: Submitted; externally peer reviewed.

Submitted: 29 December 2021; Accepted: 13 April 2022; Publication date: 20 June 2022.

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