One in six (16%) people in the UK say they are unlikely or definitely will not have a vaccine against the coronavirus, with “harmful” misperceptions affecting people’s intentions.
King’s College London and Ipsos Mori found that a greater likelihood of rejecting a potential vaccine is associated with beliefs, attitudes and values that reflect greater skepticism about science and authority and less concern about the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study, based on 2,237 interviews with UK residents aged 16 to 75, found that one in five (20%) would be fairly likely to receive a coronavirus vaccine if one became available, while one in six (April 16) would be fairly likely to receive a coronavirus vaccine when one became available %) said they didn’t or definitely won’t. Of those surveyed, 53% said they would be certain or very likely to receive a vaccine against the virus.
Higher proportions of the following groups say it is doubtful whether or not they would get a vaccine – those who believe face masks are bad for people’s health (37%); those who believe masks will not reduce the spread of Covid-19 (34%); those who believe the government just wants people to wear them to control the public (34%).
There were also those who felt there was too much fuss about the pandemic (36%), those who said they did not find the coronavirus stressful (27%), and those who said they did don’t worry about the removal of lock restrictions (24%)).
Other groups are the ones who say they are exactly the kind of person who care about making their own decisions (24%) and who say they are not at all the kind of person who are at all times adheres to the rules (24%), those who say they no longer trust scientific experts because of their help during the crisis (33%), and those who believe the UK government has acted too slowly to deal with the Control the spread of Covid-19 (27%)).
There is also an age difference in the likelihood of being vaccinated, with 16-24 (22%) and 25-34 (22%) twice as likely as 55-75 (11%) saying it is unlikely or definitely won’t .
Where people’s knowledge comes from is also a factor. 27% of those who say they get a lot of information about Covid-19 from WhatsApp say they are unlikely to get a vaccine or will definitely not get it.
Professor Bobby Duffy, Director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said: “Misconceptions about vaccines are among our most directly damaging beliefs and are clearly influencing people’s intentions during the coronavirus crisis.
“While one in six people in the UK says they are unlikely to or definitely will not receive a potential vaccine against Covid-19, that number rises to around a third or more in certain groups, which is clearly related to belief in conspiracy theories and Distrust of government, authority and science.
“Vaccines are one of our greatest achievements, and there is great confidence that we will eventually develop one for Covid-19 – but more need to be convinced of how important it could be in ending this crisis.”