As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is sweeping across the globe, there is an urgent need to develop effective vaccines as the most powerful strategy to end the pandemic. This study aimed to examine how factors related to vaccine characteristics, their social normative influence and convenience of vaccination can affect the public’s preference for the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine in China.
An online discrete choice experiment (DCE) survey was administered to a sample of China’s general population. Participants were asked to make a series of hypothetical choices and estimate their preference for different attributes of the vaccine. A mixed logit regression model was used to analyse the DCE data. Willingness to pay for each attribute was also calculated.
Data of 1236 participants who provided valid responses were included in the analysis. There was strong public preference for high effectiveness of the vaccine, followed by long protective duration, very few adverse events and being manufactured overseas. Price was the least important attribute affecting the public preference in selecting the COVID-19 vaccine.
The strong public preferences detected in this study should be considered when developing COVID-19 vaccination programme in China. The results provide useful information for policymakers to identify the individual and social values for a good vaccination strategy.
The design of the experimental choices was fully based on interviews and focus group discussions participated by 26 Chinese people with diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Without their participation, the study would not be possible.

© 2020 The Authors Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.