Growing reluctance to get vaccinated against COVID-19

09 November 2020 | Muriel Cozier

‘This drop in vaccine confidence is a remarkable and sad trend as we edge closer to a possible vaccine roll-out…’ 

A  World Economic Forum/Ipsos survey has indicated that 73% of respondents would get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available. The survey covered 18,526 adults from 15 countries aged 18-74 and was carried out October 8-13 2020.

The current result contrasts with a survey in August, in which 77% of adults strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement ‘If a COVID-19 vaccine were available, I would get it.’ The shortfall in vaccine confidence at the time of the August survey was significant enough to be seen to compromise a reduction in the spread of the virus. Now the latest survey shows the number of adults willing to take a vaccine has fallen.

Arnaud Bernaert, Head of Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum said ‘This drop in vaccine confidence is a remarkable and sad trend as we edge closer to a possible vaccine roll-out.  The numbers are significant enough to compromise the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine to manage the disease and see an end to the cycle of new lockdowns and restrictions. It is critical that governments and the private sector come together to build trust in the next steps. It’s important to know that when a vaccine is ready, it will make a difference.’

Reasons given for not wanting to take the vaccine included concerns about side effects (34%) and that the vaccines were moving through clinical trials too quickly (33%). Concerns about side effects were highest in Japan (62%) and China (46%). Respondents in Spain and Brazil (48% in both) were the most concerned about the speed of clinical trials.

Asking how soon respondents would get vaccinated once one became available, nearly half of adults globally said they would get the vaccine within three months. Respondents in China (90%) and South Korea (86%) said that they would get vaccinated within the first year.

The World Health Organisation has named public hesitancy towards vaccination as one of the top ten threats to global heath in 2019, affecting not only public health but business and economies.

More details on this survey

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