Vaccin corona

Understanding Vaccination Hesitancy by Studying Irregular Individuals [PhD Project]

Vaccination is a very effective tool to fight the spread of infectious diseases such as measles, Hepatitis B, and recently also COVID-19. However, some people refuse to be vaccinated (or have their children vaccinated) and this prevents high vaccination coverage and the elimination of infectious diseases. This project is part of the Adaptive Societies, Organizations and Workers theme.

Dr. Florian van Leeuwen and his colleagues examine irregular individuals, that is, individuals who favor (or oppose) vaccination despite having traits and identities that make them likely to oppose (or favor) vaccination. The primary aim of the project is to better understand why people sometimes refuse vaccination. The ultimate goal of the project is to find strategies to increase vaccination coverage.


Mitchell Matthijssen is a PhD student who is interested in why people are in favor or opposed to vaccinations. He did his Research Master in Social and Behavioral Sciences with a specialization in Sociology in Tilburg University.

Dr. Florian van Leeuwen is a social psychologist. He studies how motivations for pathogen avoidance influence thoughts, feelings, and social behaviors.

Prof. Dr. Peter Achterberg is a cultural sociologist who studies how people think about science and scientific institutions.

Dr. Mariëlle Cloin is a sociologist working at Tranzo. Her expertise is on (local) public health issues and health promotion in (vulnerable) populations.

Prof. Dr. Ien van de Goor is program leader Public Health and prevention research at Tranzo with a background in health sciences. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating (local) public health policy and interventions.

Project duration: 2020 - 2024

Cross-cutting themes

The Herbert Simon Research Institute for Health, Well-being, and Adaptiveness is a research center devoted to carrying out excellent, state of the art research in order to contribute to healthy and resilient people. We have selected three themes, which involve the collaboration between various Departments  and address actual themes in need of both fundamental and applied research.