Vaccination has become one of the most effective ways of controlling the spread of COVID-19. Consequently, revealing the evolutionary and cognitive antecedents of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and vaccination intention has become crucial. Drawing on the theory of behavioral immune system (BIS), we investigate whether perceived vulnerability to disease (PVD) is associated with vaccination intentions through the need for cognitive closure (NCC) and vaccine hesitancy. The data was collected from 525 adults from Turkey. The structural equation modeling results indicate that of the two dimensions of PVD, germ aversion predicts COVID-19 vaccination intention through sequential mediation of NCC and vaccine hesitancy. Perceived infectability, on the other hand, is directly and positively related to vaccination intention. By showing the mediating role of NCC, our results offer an insight as to why germ aversion translates into vaccine hesitancy, and low vaccination intention. We discuss the potential benefits of considering the roles of BIS and NCC in campaigns and policies targeted at increasing COVID-19 vaccine uptake and suggest implications for such practices.