Fears of Side Effects the Main Reason for Vaccine Hesitancy Across the World, According to a New Survey

Most people who are unwilling to be vaccinated against Covid are concerned about side effects and question whether the vaccines have been fully tested, according to a new survey in 15 countries. The Guardian has more.

Other reasons cited in the survey of 68,000 people, led by Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation in collaboration with YouGov, were the uncertainty that people would not get the vaccine they preferred and worries about efficacy.

The survey was carried out in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Excluding eligibility, the top reasons for not having the vaccine across all 15 countries surveyed were “concerns about side effects” and/or “concerns that there has not been enough testing of vaccines”.

Trust in vaccines was highest in the U.K., at 87%, and lowest in Japan, at 47%. The U.K. respondents also had the highest level of confidence in their health authorities (70%), while South Korea had the lowest (42%).

Among those who had not yet been vaccinated, confidence was highest in the Pfizer vaccine in nine out of the 15 countries, and in three others – Canada, Singapore and Sweden – among those under 65.

The U.S. had the largest number of people across all ages saying they did not trust any of the Covid vaccines. The survey, which has been running since last year, found that until March the AstraZeneca vaccine was the most trusted in the U.K. among the under-65s, but confidence in it has declined in all age groups with the publicity over side effects. In most other countries, trust in AstraZeneca is low, as with Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm vaccines.

These findings echo those of another survey recently conducted by the E.U. agency Eurofound which suggested that more than a quarter of adults in the E.U. are either “very unlikely” or “rather unlikely” to accept a Covid vaccine. The main reason cited by participants was a lack of trust in the safety of the vaccine. Almost half of those who were unlikely to accept a Covid vaccine said the risks associated with the virus has been exaggerated and eight per cent believed that Covid didn’t exist at all.

The Guardian report is worth reading in full.

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