Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Jody Ralph


attitudes, knowledge, nursing students, vaccination, vaccine hesitancy




Vaccine hesitancy is a growing threat to public health worldwide; however, the vaccine knowledge and attitudes of nursing students—a population of future immunizers and health promoters—are largely unknown. The purpose of this descriptive research study was to assess baccalaureate nursing students’ knowledge and acceptance of vaccinations as well as leading, self-reported vaccination influences in their lives. The sample consisted of 145 fourth-year nursing students at a Southwestern Ontario university who completed an in-class, online survey in February 2020 (pre-COVID-19 restrictions) consisting of the Vaccination Knowledge Scale, the Vaccine Acceptance Instrument, and demographic and vaccination influence questions. The participants were found to have high mean vaccine knowledge scores (7.8/9, SD ± 1.5) and vaccine acceptance scores (123.3/140, SD ± 16.1), and the two variables were positively correlated using Pearson’s correlation (r[143] = .69, p < .001). However, the vaccine acceptance results revealed varying degrees of vaccine hesitancy, and the students displayed the lowest scores in the subscale pertaining to the role of government in requiring vaccinations. Nursing school was selected as the leading vaccine influence among the participants, but healthcare providers were chosen as a primary influence by students with lower vaccine knowledge scores. Nursing educators are in a prime position to positively impact students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward vaccination and should consider providing targeted education toward common vaccination misconceptions among nursing students.