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Tue, 29 September 2020

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Only half of Britons would consider getting future coronavirus vaccine, new study reveals

Only half of Britons would consider getting future coronavirus vaccine, new study reveals

People sceptical of scientific advice were more likely to reject a vaccine, the study found (PA)

3 min read

Just half of the UK population would accept getting vaccinated against Covid-19 should a vaccine come available, a fresh poll has revealed.

The research by King’s College London and Ipsos Mori found that 16% of adults would definitely not or would be unlikely to get a vaccine, while 53% claimed they would.

Interviews with 2,237 Brits also found that those with a greater scepticism towards science were the most likely to consider rejecting the jab in future.

People who were opposed to masks were among those least likely to get vaccines, including 37% of those who believe face masks are bad for people’s health, and 24% people who say they don’t wear face masks.

And younger people were significantly more likely to say they wouldn’t get inoculated, with 22% of those aged 16-35 against it compared to just 11% of 55-75-year-olds. 

Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London which ran the study, expressed his concern at the findings.

He 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 government, authority and science.

He continued: “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.”

While significant proportions of the population are uncertain about whether they would get the vaccine, there is high confidence that we will develop one: only 4% of people say it’ll never happen – but less than half the public (44%) think we’ll have one in 12 months or less.

Gideon Skinner, research director at Ipsos MORI, said: “Britons are slightly more likely to say they’ll get a vaccine for Covid-19 than one for seasonal flu, but 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."

The study comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to get the flu vaccine this year in a bid to reduce further pressure on the NHS, saying those opposed were "nuts".

Speaking at a health centre last month, he said: "The reason for doing this is to protect the NHS in the winter months because obviously we have still got COVID, we have still got the threat of a second spike on COVID, and it's vital therefore to keep that pressure off the NHS by everybody getting a flu jab and I really hope everybody will."

And in a swipe at those opposed to vaccines, he added: "There's all these anti-vaxxers now. They are nuts, they are nuts."


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