16% of people in the UK likely to refuse Covid-19 vaccine: study

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on August 09, 2020

One in six people in the UK is likely to refuse a Covid-19 vaccine when available, according to a recent study by King’s College London and Ipsos MORI.

The study surveyed 2,237 adults aged 16-75 in the UK -- on their opinions on getting a Covid-19 vaccine.

According to the report, one in six (16 per cent) are “unlikely to or definitely won’t get a Covid-19 vaccine”.

Fifty-two per cent of the respondents said they were certain or very likely to get a vaccine if one becomes available, while 20 per cent of the respondents were “fairly likely” to get vaccinated.

“The research, by King’s College London and Ipsos MORI, finds that a greater likelihood of refusing a potential vaccine is linked to beliefs, attitudes and values that reflect greater scepticism about science and authority, and less concern about the Covid-19 pandemic,” read an official release.

“There is also an age divide in the likelihood of getting vaccinated, with 16-24s (22 per cent) and 25-34s (22 per cent) twice as likely as 55-75s (11 per cent) to say they’re unlikely to do so or definitely won’t,” the report said.

In terms of the country’s vaccination effort, 4 per cent of people said the authorities will never be able to vaccinate the population, while 44 per cent thought that they will be able to vaccinate the population in the next 12 months.

Over 30 per cent of the respondents also believed that facemasks were bad for health, while 34 per cent of the people believed it to be a way for the government to control the people. Almost 36 per cent of the people believed that “too much fuss” was being made about the pandemic.

The source of information, apart from the understanding of the severity of the pandemic, also played a role in people’s decision to get vaccinated.

“27 per cent of those who say they get a great deal of information on Covid-19 from WhatsApp, say they’re unlikely to or definitely won’t get a vaccine,” the report said.

Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said, “Misperceptions about vaccines are among our most directly damaging beliefs, and they’re clearly influencing people’s intentions during the coronavirus crisis. While one in six in the UK say they are unlikely to or definitely won’t get a potential vaccine against Covid-19, this rises to around a third or more among certain groups, with a clear link to belief in conspiracy theories and mistrust of the government, authority and science.

“Vaccines are one of our greatest achievements, and there is a great deal of faith that we’ll eventually develop one for Covid-19 – but more still need to be convinced of how important it could be for ending this crisis,” he said.

“It is still deeply concerning that we see almost a quarter of 16-34-year-olds saying they’re unlikely to get vaccinated for Covid-19, if one becomes available. Previously, the public have told us that an announcement of a successful vaccine would make a big positive difference to how optimistic they feel, which suggests at least some awareness of how critical vaccinations have been in the past in defeating disease, but this data should serve as an important staging post for the NHS and the government to combat misperceptions about vaccinations, particularly among young people and those who already have their doubts about the current pandemic,” said Gideon Skinner, research director at Ipsos MORI.

Published on August 09, 2020

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