Vaccinations against COVID-19 continue for more than one year. However, some people hold negative attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination. The present study aims to examine how the attitudes against the COVID-19 vaccine are affected by the death salience and fear of COVID-19. Following this aim quasi-experimental research was conducted by utilizing death salience manipulation based on the Terror Management Theory. 288 people participated in the study, 146 people (77% women, 23% men) in the experimental condition, and 142 (73% women, 27% men) in the control condition. Data were collected online with a questionnaire consisting of the Vaccine Hesitancy Scale (VHS), Fear of Covid-19 Scale (FCV-19S), the Emotion Checklist (EC) in the pre-test, and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and Socio-demographics beside VHS in post-test. The results of the statistical analyses comparing the pre- and post-tests revealed a significant decrease in the VHS-total and subscale scores excepting “vaccine hesitancy” following death salience manipulation in the experimental condition. However, there were statistically significant decreases in the VHS-total and “vaccine repugnance” subscale scores in the control condition. The findings of the study revealed that anti-vaccination attitudes have been affected by death salience. The results of the study supported the explanations of Terror Management Theory by showing that the increase in fear affects attitude change, especially when the strength of the attitude is weak.
COVID-19, death, fear, mood, vaccination refusal