survey about vaccine clinical trials

Why People Aren’t Raising Their Hands to Participate in a Vaccine Study

With confirmed COVID-19 cases topping six million worldwide, pharmaceutical companies are in a race to develop a vaccine. One of the many obstacles to overcome is finding volunteers for the clinical trials that must take place to confirm the efficacy and safety of potential vaccines. In April 2020, we conducted a global survey to determine the drivers behind people’s willingness – and unwillingness – to participate in a vaccine study.

The struggle to find volunteers for vaccine-related clinical trials is not unique to the novel coronavirus. The survey, with respondents from four countries, shows that while 85 percent of respondents agree that vaccines are safe and effective and save lives, only 40 percent say they would be likely to participate in a vaccine trial. This huge gap must be bridged if pharmaceutical companies are to find the 750,000+ volunteers needed for more than 150 Phase 2-3 vaccine studies being conducted worldwide today for diseases including COVID-19, dengue, HIV, HPV, influenza and malaria.

Uncertainty about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines tops the list of concerns people have when it comes to participating in a vaccine trial personally. This concern was identified by almost half of all survey respondents. For instance, people expressed fear of side effects or stated that existing health conditions would prevent their participation.

The good news is that people are strongly motivated to participate in trials because of their sense of social responsibility and a desire to help others. For example, in the United States, 61 percent of respondents said that potentially preventing the spread of an epidemic in their community would encourage them to volunteer for a vaccine study.

To find the vaccines that are needed to save lives from dangerous and deadly viruses, it is critical to speak directly to the diverse drivers that play into people’s decisions on whether to participate in a clinical trial. Read the full survey results here to gain practical insights on how to recruit motivated, willing volunteers for infectious disease vaccine studies.

Cookie Preferences


The Cloudflare cookie is used to identify individual clients behind a shared IP address and apply security settings on a per-client basis.


Google Analytics

Used by Google AdWords to re-engage visitors that are likely to enrol based on the visitor's online behaviour across websites.



Wordpress built-in cookies to keep user settings after page transitions.


Functional cookies

Allow our websites to remember your user name, language preference, or geographic region. This information is used to provide a personalized experience and to make the website easier to use. If you don’t allow these cookies, then some or all features may not function


Performance cookies

Collect information about your use of our website, e.g. page visits or error messages. This information is aggregated and anonymized and used to improve our website. If you don’t allow these cookies, we won’t know when you have visited our website and won’t be able to monitor its performance


Advertising cookies

Allow us to display advertising we think is relevant to you. We build profiles based on your browsing history, which we share with our advertising partners to show you relevant advertisements on other sites. If you don’t allow these cookies you will still receive advertising, but it will be less relevant


Close your account?

Your account will be closed and all data will be permanently deleted and cannot be recovered. Are you sure?