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article imageNational variations to the COVID vaccine revealed in new survey

By Tim Sandle     Feb 5, 2021 in Health
A new international survey of attitudes to the various coronavirus vaccines shows an underlying current of misinformation. Beyond this, there are some stark national variances in relation to those who are opposed to being immunized.
A large multi-country poll on the psychological condition of 'vaccine hesitancy' has been conducted, with a view to comparing and contrasting the different national perspectives on the immunization. For the poll. some 7,000 people across U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, India and the U.S. were surveyed. The poll was performed by Kantar Public. The poll data has been made available to Digital Journal by Dr Michell Harrison, global CEO of Kantar Public.
Concern about having the vaccine is higher in France then any of the other nations. The results indicate that almost 40 percent of the French public would not have a vaccine if offered. This is twice the rate in Britain (14 percent), and compares to 12 percent in Italy and 17 percent in the Netherlands. While hesitancy is also worryingly high in the U.S. (26 percent) and Germany (23 percent), France remains way ahead. Quite why anti-vaccine misinformation is so high in the French republic is unknown.
What is further interesting, in terms of public policy, is how this correlates to a lack of trust in government. The survey indicates that only 11 percent of U.S. citizens and 13 percent of French citizens trust their governments to be a reliable source of information on vaccines, compared to vastly higher scores for doctors and health authorities. In contrast, it is Indian respondents, with a score of 44 percent, who place the highest trust in their government for vaccine information.
As policy-makers grapple with vaccine hesitancy, such findings indicate that family doctors and health authorities need to be conveying the message to populations, rather than central governments. Health authorities and family doctors are considered the most reliable sources of information on vaccines across all markets (44 percent and 35 percent respectively). National differences will partly rest on whether health centers are part of the state apparatus (as with the U.K.) or independent (as with the U.S.), or some variant thereof.
Other findings of interest include a gender division. Here, gender identifying men are more likely to have a vaccine at 74 percent compared to 69 percent of gender identifying women, across all countries. With age demographics, vaccine hesitancy is most acute in some younger age groups, with over half of French 25-34 year olds (52 percent) and one third of Dutch 25-34 year olds (32 percent) indicating that would not be vaccinated.
Fortunately, the reliance on social media for health advice is not too strong. It is at its highest in India, at 26 percent, and relatively low in Germany, at 5 percent in Germany and 4 percent in Italy and the Netherlands.
Such data is useful in understanding the extent of the challenges faced by governments in rolling out the life-saving vaccines.
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