Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Ted Bitner

Second Advisor

Dr. Alicia Suarez

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Jones


This thesis examines attitudes towards and ethics of receiving one of the fastest vaccines ever developed— the COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) in the U.S. has granted either Emergency Use Authorization or full approval to three vaccines: the Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna-NIAID vaccines. However, although the FDA approved and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting the vaccines, that does not necessarily mean people have an ethical responsibility or a positive attitude towards getting vaccinated against COVID-19; this current paper explores both of these ideas as related to COVID-19 vaccination. First, it surveys sources highlighting the utility of vaccines to control infectious diseases and pandemics. Next, it questions whether getting vaccinated against any disease, and specifically COVID-19, is the ethical action to take. Then, there is a literature review of research into attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine, determining the most prevalent attitudes across all people and within specific demographics such as women, people belonging to certain political and religious groups, racial and ethnic minorities, and children. Finally, the results of a study conducted at DePauw University to investigate attitudes, attitude changes, and motivations of recently vaccinated individuals are reported in order to elucidate certain factors that may be useful to understand vaccine decision making.

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