Drie jonge mensen lopen op straat

COVID-19 vaccine uptake was lower in neighbourhoods that had proportionately higher percentages of residents from a non-Western migration background and residents who were more likely to vote for right-wing Christian and right-wing conservative political parties. At the other end of the spectrum, vaccine uptake was higher in neighbourhoods that had more people with a higher socio-economic status and higher HPV vaccine uptake. In these neighbourhoods, people were more likely to vote for right-wing liberal, progressive liberal and centrist Christian parties. These findings are from research by RIVM.

Socio-economic status, political affiliation and non-Western migration background show a striking association with COVID-19 vaccine uptake at the neighbourhood level. This correlation was clearly visible in age groups from 50 years and up. 

Degree of urbanisation, distance to the nearest vaccination facility and likelihood of voting for progressive left-wing parties were also associated with COVID-19 vaccine uptake, although these associations were less clear.

This study at the neighbourhood level revealed information about aspects that are not (yet) addressed at the individual level.

In more urban neighbourhoods, the association with COVID-19 vaccine uptake was mixed. A certain degree of urbanisation was positively associated with vaccine uptake, but this levels out past a certain point. There was no association between increased distance to the nearest vaccination facility and COVID-19 vaccine uptake. It was not possible to include the locations of mobile vaccination facilities (‘vaccination buses’) in this study. 

Differences compared to 12ؘ–49 age group

The results for the age group of 12–40 years can be compared in many respects to the results of people aged 50 and over. However, there are several notable differences. For example, a higher voting proportion for liberal political parties among younger age groups, after correcting for other neighbourhood characteristics, was negatively associated with vaccine uptake. Beyond that, voting proportions for progressive left-wing political parties were not related. Non-Western migration background was more significantly associated with vaccine uptake.

Structure of the study

The aim of the study was to identify determinants associated with COVID-19 vaccine uptake at the neighbourhood level, in order to guide in-depth research on barriers for vaccination. Vaccine uptake is defined here as having received at least one COVID-19 vaccination. The study looked at vaccine uptake in the period up to and including April 2022.

COVID-19 vaccine uptake is generally high in the Netherlands, compared to many other countries. Within the Netherlands, however, there are major differences at the neighbourhood level. This study is a first step towards taking stock of determinants that may contribute to high COVID-19 vaccine uptake and identifying which groups may need more attention in vaccination campaigns.