The present study examined how conspiracy beliefs about COVID-19 vaccines specifically relate to symptoms of fear of COVID-19 in a sample of four South American countries. A total of 1785 people from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru participated, responding to a sociodemographic survey, the Fear of COVID-19 scale (FCV-19 S) and the Vaccine Conspiracy Beliefs Scale-COVID-19 (VCBS-COVID-19). Network analysis identified the most important symptoms of fear and conspiracy beliefs about COVID-19 vaccines (nodes) and the associations between them (edges). In addition, the robustness of the network of these indicators of centrality and the possible differences in the structure and connectivity of the networks between the four countries were evaluated. The results suggest that the nodes with the highest centrality were items 2 and 5 of the FCV-19 S and item 2 of the VCBS-COVID-19. Likewise, item 6 is the belief that most predicts conspiracy beliefs about vaccines against COVID-19; while item 6 was the symptom that most predicts fear of COVID-19. The findings strongly support cross-cultural similarities in the networks across the four countries rather than differences. Although it was expected that a higher presence of symptoms of fear of COVID-19 may lead people to compensate for their fear by believing in conspiratorial ideas about vaccines and, consequently, rejecting the COVID-19 vaccine, the results do not clearly show this relationship. This could lead other researchers to generate evidence to explain the differences between Latin American countries and countries in other contexts in terms of vaccination rates. This evidence could be useful to develop policies favoring vaccination against COVID-19 that are more contextualized to the Latin American region, characterized by social instability and economic recession during the pandemic.
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