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The Effects of Compulsory Vaccination Law and COVID-19 on Vaccine Hesitancy: Analyzing Digital Traces from Italy

by Alessia Melegaro, Veronica Toffolutti, and Adriana Manna

SARS-CoV-2 is currently hard-hitting populations at a global scale, causing unprecedented morbidity and mortality in high income countries and putting under serious strain the healthcare sector. The current non-pharmaceutical measures deployed by many governments to curb its spreading are generating an unprecedented global economic and societal crises. Only the availability of safe and effective vaccines against SARS-CoV2 can halt the pandemic spread and bring our societies out of the current crisis. However, vaccine hesitancy has been on the rise in the past decades and, if left uncontrolled, may actually hindered the reaching of herd immunity levels, which will lead to a resurgence of the pandemic itself.
Objective: These investigate the impact of three exogenous shocks, namely the introduction of the ‘No Jab ‘No jab, No school’ Law (July 2017), the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020) and the recent Astrazeneca scandal (March 2021) on dynamics in attitudes towards vaccination.