COVID-19 Vaccine Information Seeking Patterns and Vaccine Hesitancy: A Latent Class Analysis to Inform Practice

Rachael Piltch-Loeb, Diana Silver, Yeerae Kim, David Abramson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local health departments served as risk communicators to the public; however, public health practitioners have limited resources at their disposal when trying to communicate information, especially when guidance is rapidly changing. Identifying how the population gathers information across channels and which subsets of the population utilize which channels can help practitioners make the best use of these limited resources. Objective: To identify how individuals utilized different information channels to get COVID-19–related information and determine its effect on one COVID-19–related action: vaccine intentions. Design: This study applies latent class analysis to utilization of information channels to characterize information consumption patterns during the COVID-19 infodemic and then explores the relationship between these patterns and vaccine hesitancy. Setting: The data were collected from the COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Survey, which is a nationally representative sample of US adults 18 years and older recruited from Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS)’s Opinion Panel. Participants: The online survey was conducted between April 7 and April 11, 2021, after the COVID-19 vaccine was available to all adults and enrolled more than 3000 respondents (n = 3014). Main Outcome Measure(s): Respondents were asked about their frequency of information seeking related to the COVID-19 vaccine, sociodemographics, and vaccine perceptions. Results: Based on fit statistics and prior research, we identified 6 latent classes that characterize information seeking: Nonseekers, Legacy, Legacy + Facebook/Instagram, Traditional Omnivore, Omnivore + Broad Social Media, and Twitter. Sociodemographics, political, economic, and COVID-19 exposure variables are associated with different patterns of seeking information about COVID-19. Membership in 3 of these classes was associated with higher rates of vaccine refusal and vaccine hesitancy. Discussion: The study has implications for public health officials and policymakers who use media channels to share news and health information with the public. Information should be tailored to the sociodemographic profiles of those users who are likely consuming information across multiple different channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-194
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024


  • COVID-19
  • latent class analysis
  • public health preparedness
  • risk communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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