A wide spread of misinformation has contributed to a drop in willingness among people to get a coronavirus vaccine, an expert has said. There was a ten-fold increase in misinterpretations and “purposeful diversions” as the conversation around vaccines ramped up in the latter part of last year.
It is a challenge for experts, who know that as thousands of messages and letters are sent out to over-70s and the vulnerable in the next few weeks there are a proportion that will end up being ignored.
Professor Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said research from December showed the UK was “not bad” in terms of intent to get vaccinated against the virus, but there was still a minority who needed persuading.
Figures from her project suggest almost half of participants in the UK said they definitely would get a jab, and almost a third said they probably would. Around eight per cent said they definitely would not, a lower percentage than the likes of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US.
Those figures roughly reflect those in the West Midlands (where our UK offices are based), although here the number saying they would refuse the jab was higher at 13 per cent. An survey carried out in December also revealed 73 per cent were willing to have the jab and 14 per cent were unsure. The survey also showed that a significant minority – 11 per cent – continued to be concerned about the safety of vaccinations.
Prof Larson said that in general, willingness around the vaccine was “relatively high” in April and May but since discussion around vaccines had increased, that had ebbed away.
Vaccination in any case is still considered a highly debated topic, so the following reports come as no surprise in the current climate. It Is true that we can’t see this as a ‘one size fits all’ scenario, so to find out more information regarding the vaccination, please consult a medical professional who will be able to support your individual needs and circumstance.