Attitudes towards Covid-19 vaccine improving, finds global survey

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26th February 2021 11:35 - Health

Attitudes towards Covid-19 vaccine improving, finds global survey: A survey of people around the globe has found that in many countries, attitudes towards the Covid-19 vaccine are improving.

The research was conducted by  Imperial College London and YouGov from November 2020 to January 2020 and forms part of the Covid-19 Behavior Tracker. It polled 13,500 respondents from 15 countries around the world (UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Sweden).

The tracker found that before vaccines were being approved, vaccine hesitancy was greatest, with just two-fifths (40%) of people surveyed in November saying they would be willing to be vaccinated right away should one be offered to them, while more than half were concerned about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccines, citing potential side effects. 

However, by January 2021 over half the respondents polled (54%) said if they were offered a vaccine that week they would take it, and the proportion of people who were worried about potential side effects had fallen to 47%. 

Changing attitudes

Of all the countries polled, the UK had the highest rate of people willing to have the vaccine in January (78%). The survey also found that 11 out of the 15 countries polled (excluding Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore) saw an increase in the number of people willing to have the vaccine, from November to January. 

The research also found that by January 2021, Italy had the most trust in Covid-19 vaccines (82%), followed by the UK (81%). The average trust for the countries polled was 66%, with just 12% saying they have no trust at all. Every county polled reported over half their respondents having trust in the vaccine, with the exception of Japan.

Across all countries polled, the percentage of respondents who stated it was ‘very’ or ‘moderately important’ to have the vaccine was above 50%, the highest being Italy at 86%. Norway had the highest share of respondents (45%) who stated the vaccine was a little or not important at all for their health. 

Although these survey results show insight into changing opinions in some countries, they cannot be viewed as ‘catch all’ for all regions of the world where findings might be different, such as in low to middle-income countries, notes the paper.

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