Intention to vaccinate against COVID-19 and potential outreach strategies for a residential research university in Northeastern Ohio




vaccine hesitancy, Theory of Planned Behavior


Introduction: A university’s understanding of student, faculty, and staff members’ intention to vaccinate against COVID-19 has been vital in returning safely to in-person education, research, and engagement with communities and professions. We employed a novel survey to describe intentions across subpopulations of one campus and consider key issues in their rationales for intentions and hesitancies.

Materials and methods: 1,077 surveys based on Theory of Planned Behavior were completed from randomly selected pools of undergraduate students, graduate students, part-time faculty, full-time faculty, and staff. Chi-Squared Automated Interaction Detection algorithm analysis provided paths for evaluation. Results and discussion: 83 percent of respondents said they would receive the vaccine at their first opportunity, while 5 percent said they would never get the vaccine; the remaining 12 percent wanted more evidence before getting the vaccine. Findings included negative health perceptions of the vaccine, misinformation on the process, as well as negative rhetorical responses differentiated between political partisanship and membership within the campus community, eg, faculty, staff, or student.

Implications: Universities seeking to raise campus vaccination rates should concentrate limited resources on the largest populations with the most opportunity to vaccinate. In this study, newer students, with conservative political views, represented a population of opportunity. Their formative beliefs may be influenced by messaging and in collaboration with students’ personal physician and/or friend groups. A theory-based approach leads to focused efforts for safer campuses and resumption/continuation of face-to-face interactions for students, faculty, and staff.

Author Biographies

Jeffrey L. Pellegrino, PhD

School of Disaster Science & Emergency Services, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio

Brian Miller, MS

School of Health and Human Performance, Mary Baldwin University, Fishersville, Virginia

Jamillee Krob, DHEd

Foundational Education and Allied Health, Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Canton, Ohio

Travis Darago

Biology Department, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio


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How to Cite

Pellegrino, PhD, J. L., B. Miller, MS, J. Krob, DHEd, and T. Darago. “Intention to Vaccinate Against COVID-19 and Potential Outreach Strategies for a Residential Research University in Northeastern Ohio”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 21, no. 7, Feb. 2023, pp. 185-02, doi:10.5055/jem.0729.