Exploring vaccine hesitancy in care home employees in North West England: A qualitative study

Amelia Dennis, Charlotte Robin, Leah Ffion Jones, Holly Carter

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OBJECTIVES: Care homes have experienced a high number of COVID-19 outbreaks, and it is therefore important for care home employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, there is high vaccine hesitancy among this group. We aimed to understand barriers and facilitators to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as views on potential mandatory vaccination policies. 

DESIGN: Semi-structured interviews. 

SETTING: Care home employees in North West England. Interviews conducted in April 2021. 

PARTICIPANTS: 10 care home employees (aged 25-61 years) in the North West, who had been invited to have, but not received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

RESULTS: We analysed the interviews using a framework analysis. Our analysis identified eight themes: perceived risk of COVID-19, effectiveness of the vaccine, concerns about the vaccine, mistrust in authorities, facilitators to getting the vaccine, views on mandatory vaccinations, negative experiences of care work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and communication challenges. 

CONCLUSIONS: Making COVID-19 vaccination a condition of deployment may not result in increased willingness to get the COVID-19 vaccination, with most care home employees in this study favouring leaving their job rather than getting vaccinated. At a time when many care workers already had negative experiences during the pandemic due to perceived negative judgement from others and a perceived lack of support facing care home employees, policies that require vaccination as a condition of deployment were not positively received.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere055239
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

Publisher Copyright: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Citation: Dennis A, Robin C, Jones LF, et al. Exploring vaccine hesitancy in care home employees in North West England: a qualitative study. BMJ Open 2022; 12:e055239.



  • COVID-19
  • public health
  • qualitative research


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