Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-8-2023

Document Type



Sawyer, H. (2023). Needles and Nerves: Vaccine Hesitancy Among the Undergraduate Student Population at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Undergraduate Honors Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Haley Sawyer 2023.


COVID-19 is a virus that has wreaked havoc on every aspect of life since its discovery in 2020. From nationwide shutdowns to the development and implementation of social distancing and masking guidelines, government and public health officials have worked diligently to create measures to combat the high transmission rates of the coronavirus. One measure that was met with much pushback, especially in the United States, was vaccine uptake. This issue was especially prominent among young people. This study attempts to analyze attitudes towards different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, focused on the vaccine through utilization of the Theory of Planned Behavior and Health Belief Model to understand why undergraduate students may or may not receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Behaviors and attitudes towards the Flu and Flu vaccine were also compiled for comparison reasons. This study analyzed survey responses from 98 participants recruited to complete a mixed open-ended and qualitative survey. In doing so, common sentiments towards and themes regarding the COVID-19 and Flu vaccines were identified, providing insight on intentions and motivations among undergraduate students to uptake vaccines, as well as perform certain health behaviors in general.