A Serial Mediation Model Predicting Covid-19 Vaccines Acceptance in Portugal: The Critical Role of Conspiracy Theories in the Wake of Perceived Quality of Government Communication and National Stereotypes

Christin-Melanie Vauclair, Elena Piccinelli


Ever since the Covid-19 vaccination rollout, governments have aimed for herd immunity. Yet, many countries are far from achieving this goal mainly due to vaccine refusal. Previous research has pointed to conspiracy beliefs and the role of trust in governments as predictors of vaccine acceptance, yet a more comprehensive explanatory model is still missing. Using data from a convenience sample of 377 residents in Portugal (Mage = 33.56, SD = 13.67), the present study extends previous research by proposing a serial mediation model in the prediction of vaccine acceptance. The results confirm the critical role of conspiracy beliefs mediating the link between perceived quality of government communication and general vaccine acceptance (Model 1) as well as national stereotypes and acceptance of the Sinovac vaccine from China (Model 2). The implications are discussed considering that Portugal is currently ranked the second country in the world with the highest vaccination rate.


Covid-19, conspiracy beliefs, vaccine acceptance, government communication

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