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Publication Detail
Healthcare workers’ views on mandatory SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in the United Kingdom: findings from the UK-REACH prospective longitudinal cohort study
  • Publication Type:
    Working discussion paper
  • Authors:
    Woolf K, Gogoi M, Martin C, Papineni P, Lagrata S, Nellums L, McManus C, Guyatt A, Melbourne C, Bryant L, Gupta A, John C, Carr S, Tobin M, Simpson S, Gregary B, Aujayeb A, Zingwe S, Reza R, Gray L, Khunti K, Pareek M
  • Publication date:
  • Status:


Several countries now have mandatory SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers (HCWs) or the general population. HCWs’ views on this are largely unknown.


We administered an online questionnaire to 17891 United Kingdom (UK) HCWs in Spring 2021 as part of the United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity And COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH) nationwide prospective cohort study. We categorised responses to a free-text question “What should society do if people don’t get vaccinated against COVID-19?” using content analysis. We collapsed categories into a binary variable: favours mandatory vaccination or not and used logistic regression to calculate its demographic predictors, and occupational, health and attitudinal predictors adjusted for demographics.


Of 5633 questionnaire respondents, 3235 answered the freetext question; 18% (n=578) of those favoured mandatory vaccination but the most frequent suggestion was education (32%, n=1047). Older HCWs, HCWs vaccinated against influenza (OR 1.48; 95%CI 1.10 – 1.99, vs none) and with more positive vaccination attitudes generally (OR 1.10; 95%CI 1.06 – 1.14) were more likely to favour mandatory vaccination (OR 1.26; 95%CI 1.17 – 1.37, per decade increase), whereas female HCWs (OR= 0.80, 95%CI 0.65 – 0.99, vs male), Black HCWs (OR= 0.48, 95%CI 0.26 – 0.87, vs White), those hesitant about COVID-19 vaccination (OR= 0.56; 95%CI 0.43 – 0.71, vs not hesitant), in an Allied Health Profession (OR 0.67; 95%CI 0.51 – 0.88, vs Medical), or who trusted their organisation (OR 0.78; 95%CI 0.63 – 0.96) were less likely to.


Only one in six of the HCWs in this large, diverse, UK-wide sample favoured mandatory vaccination. Building trust, educating and supporting HCWs who are hesitant about vaccination may be more acceptable, effective and equitable.


MRC-UK Research and Innovation grant (MR/V027549/1) and the Department of Health and Social Care via the National Institute for Health Research.
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