Were risk averse individuals more or less likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

More likely according to: Lepinteur et al. (2023):

The theoretical effect [of risk aversion on COVID-19 vaccination] is ambiguous, as both COVID-19 infection and vaccination side-effects involve probabilistic elements. In large-scale data covering five European countries, we find that vaccine hesitancy falls with risk aversion, so that COVID-19 infection is perceived as involving greater risk than is vaccination.

The data come from the June 2021 COME-HERE (COVID-19, MEntal Health, Resilience and Self-regulation) longitudinal study. One issue is that risk is measured using a simple 1-10 scale rather than relative risk aversion. Also, risk is measured in general, not specific to health risks.

How do you see yourself: Are you generally a person who is fully prepared to take risks or do you try to avoid taking risks? Please tick a box on the scale, where the value 0 means: ‘unwilling to take risks’ and the value 10 means: ‘fully prepared to take risk’”. 

I’m not surprised by the result, but it still is interesting. The full paper is here.