One in six people surveyed in the UK would refuse to get a coronavirus vaccine, with only 53 percent saying they would definitely get vaccinated, according to a survey reported by British newspaper the Guardian.
The findings undermine the hope that a coronavirus vaccine could spell the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, as even if one is developed – still far from certain, despite multiple projects under development – enough people might refuse to be vaccinated to prevent the society wide immunity necessary to defeat a virus.
The survey was conducted by King’s College London university and the pollster Ipsos Mori and carried out 2,237 online interviews with UK residents aged 16-75 in mid-July.
“Misperceptions about vaccines are among our most directly damaging beliefs, and they’re clearly influencing people’s intentions during the coronavirus crisis,” said Professor Bobby Duffy, director of King’s College London’s the Policy Institute, which led the study.
Conspiracy theorists, young people less likely to vaccinate
The study found that people who were more skeptical about science and tended to get their information about COVID-19 from WhatsApp and other unofficial outlets were less likely to get vaccinated.
“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,” said Duffy.
The young people surveyed were also less likely to get vaccinated than older interviewees.
According to the findings reported by the Guardian, 22 percent of 16-34 year olds said they would be unlikely or definitely would not accept a vaccine. Among 55-75 year-olds, this number was only 11 percent.
“Almost a quarter of 16-34-year-olds are saying they’re unlikely to get vaccinated for Covid-19 if one becomes available. That is deeply concerning and should serve as an important staging post for the government to combat misperceptions about vaccinations, particularly among young people,” said Ipsos Mori’s Research Director Gideon Skinner as quoted in the Guardian.