International Covid-19 vaccine poll shows higher mistrust of Russia, China shots

A medical worker holds a vial of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in Belgrade, Serbia. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - People across the world are generally likely to say yes to getting a Covid-19 vaccine, but would be more distrustful of shots made in China or Russia than those developed in Germany or the United States, an international poll showed on Friday (Jan 15).

The survey, conducted by the polling company YouGov and shared exclusively with Reuters, found that Britons and Danes were the most willing to take the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, while the French and Poles were more likely to be hesitant.

The poll was based on questions put to almost 19,000 people.

It also found that willingness to take the Covid-19 vaccine has been improving in many countries in recent weeks, just as shots developed by companies in the United States, Russia, China, Germany and Britain were starting to be delivered and administered in countries across Europe, North America and Asia.

In Britain, 73 per cent of people said they would get vaccinated, while in Denmark the number was 70 per cent.

In the United States, however, just less than half of those surveyed said they would be willing to have a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that has remained broadly stable since July.

More than a third of people surveyed in Poland and almost half in France - 37 per cent and 48 per cent respectively - said they would say no to a Covid-19 shot if offered it.

Confidence among populations about vaccines will be a key factor in governments' efforts to curb the rate of infections in the year-long Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 92 million people worldwide and killed at least 1.98 million.

A study published by vaccine confidence researchers in November found that conspiracy theories and misinformation fuels mistrust and could push Covid-19 shot uptake rates below levels needed to protect communities against the disease.

Friday's YouGov poll found that, while sizeable minorities in many countries said they would not take the Covid-19 vaccine now, most gave their reason as preferring to wait and see if the vaccines were safe, and few were driven by entrenched "anti-vaxxer" views.

In France, for example, the proportion of the population saying they'd refuse the vaccine because they were "opposed to vaccines in general" was highest at 9 per cent, but still far lower than the percentage who would reject a Covid-19 vaccine specifically.

With Covid-19 vaccine production and delivery beginning to ramp up, the YouGov poll also surveyed attitudes to compulsory Covid-19 vaccination - a policy under discussion by some governments to try and get as many people as possible immunised.

Such a move was most popular in India at 77 per cent, Indonesia at 71 per cent and Mexico at 65 per cent.

Britons were split, with 40 per cent supportive and 42 per cent opposed, Americans tended to oppose the idea, at 46 per cent compared with only 29 per cent who would back mandatory vaccinations.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.