Background. Vaccine hesitancy hinders the eradication of preventable illnesses. Furthermore, there are gaps in public health research on vaccine hesitancy among Muslims in heterogenous societies.

Objective. This study aimed to determine whether socioeconomic demographics, political beliefs and trust in public institutions were associated with vaccine hesitancy beliefs. Additionally, two models were applied to determine which factors had the strongest influence in rejecting vaccines.

Method. Participants were recruited through Facebook group posts. Seventy-three responses were received. Sixty-three responses met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis. Participants rated their opinions on political beliefs, religious practices, trust in institutions and vaccines. Answers were compiled into the following belief scores: political leaning, religiosity, trust in public institutions, and vaccine hesitancy.

Results. From bivariate analysis, participants who were older in age, attained higher levels of education, were employed, were not married, and identified with the Sunni sect were less vaccine hesitant. From multiple regression analysis, participants with higher education levels and trust in public institutions were the least likely to express vaccine hesitancy. No belief score had a significant correlation with vaccine hesitancy. Most participants (36.5%) were more likely to receive a vaccine it had no potential safety issues. Moreover, they were hesitant with vaccines if they had safety concerns or had poor efficacy.

Discussion. Results both align with and contradict previous studies in Muslim majority and religiously heterogenous countries. This study is the first of its kind to find an association between Islamic sect and proclivity towards vaccines. Follow up studies are necessary to gauge a larger, more diverse population of Muslim-Americans. Based on this study’s findings, healthcare professionals can better promote vaccines by addressing their patient’s trust in public institutions.

Date of publication

Spring 4-10-2023

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

William Sorensen, Cheryl Cooper, Gregory Bock


Masters in Health Sciences