Private Demand for Covid-19 Vaccine: A Contingent Assessment from a Low-and Middle-income Country

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This study aimed to estimate Iranian willingness to pay (WTP) for a hypothetical COVID-19 vaccine and its determinants. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted from May 2nd to 20th, 2020 among the general population of Iran to estimate WTP for hypothetical COVID-19 vaccines. Four scenarios with different levels of efficacy and duration of protection were presented to respondents in the payment card scale of the contingent valuation method (CVM). With the corresponding WTPs under different scenarios, mean, trimmed mean, median WTP values, and vaccine demand was estimated. A semi-log regression model was employed to identify key factors. The vaccine acceptance rate and positive WTP were about 70% and 80%, respectively. The reluctant individuals believed free vaccination is a government responsibility. The highest trimmed mean and median WTP values were the US $15 and $4 for the vaccine with more than 80% efficacy and one-time vaccination. The median decreased to the US $2 in less effective scenarios. The vaccine demand was price-inelastic. Price, self-assessment virus risk, age, gender, education, income, and working in the health sector were significant factors. Given the price inelasticity of the COVID-19 vaccine, providing free vaccination by the Iranian government is highly recommended, particularly for low-income and vulnerable individuals.