Vaccine Hesitancy and Political Populism. An Invariant Cross-European Perspective
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Vaccine-hesitancy and political populism are positively associated across Europe: those countries in which their citizens present higher populist attitudes are those that also have higher vaccine-hesitancy rates. The same key driver fuels them: distrust in institutions, elites, and experts. The reluctance of citizens to be vaccinated fits perfectly in populist political agendas because is a source of instability that has a distinctive characteristic known as the “small pockets” issue. It means that the level at which immunization coverage needs to be maintained to be effective is so high that a small number of vaccine-hesitants have enormous adverse effects on herd immunity and epidemic spread. In pandemic and post-pandemic scenarios, vaccine-hesitancy could be used by populists as one of the most effective tools for generating distrust. This research presents an invariant measurement model applied to 27 EU + UK countries (27,524 participants) that segments the different behaviours fou...